Windows 8 to implement picture passwords


— 1:00 PM on December 19, 2011

Thanks to Windows 8, you won't have to wait for Thanksgiving to make rude gestures at family members. In the latest update to the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft reveals that Windows 8 will introduce a new "picture password" feature, which will let users log in by drawing gestures on a photo of their choosing.

Zach Pace, a Program Manager in Microsoft's You Centered Experience Team, demonstrates the functionality in the video below using a family picture:

Pace's blog post includes an interesting technical discussion of how picture passwords are implemented and how secure they are. Apparently, a three-gesture picture password is about as secure as a conventional text password made up of five or six randomly chosen (and not strictly alphabetical) characters. It's also considerably more secure than a multi-digit PIN.

Users won't be able to use picture passwords as complete substitutes for conventional passwords, though. As Pace explains, "When you enter your picture password incorrectly 5 times, you are prevented from using the feature again until you sign in with your plain text password." Picture password won't be supported for remote logins, either.

This looks like a fancier and potentially easier-to-use version of Android's connect-the-dots gesture passwords. I like the idea, since I don't particularly enjoy entering complicated text passwords via touch screens.

   
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