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How safe is Windows 8 picture password?

Windows 8 introduces picture password to unlock your screen. Basically, can choose any picture for your locked screen and your draw symbols like circles and lines across to unlock your device.

I can understand why Microsoft added this feature. In the world of touch screen tablets, its much more easier to draw symbols to unlock your device then to tap onto a cumbersome keyboard or keypad to unlock your device.

One of the problems I can see is that such means of unlocking your device means its too easy for someone to peek over your shoulder when you are unlocking and remember how you did it. This is not a criticism of Windows 8 per se but rather the mechanism of password unlocking. Humans, in general, remember symbols and patterns much more easier than a series of finger taps. This is how we recognize words, even though they are partially missing or understand that a line drawing of a cat is represents a cat.

A good example is the iphone pattern unlocking. I could remember my friend’s unlock pattern with one look, but can never remember which number is pressed if its using a keypad. Of course, this may differ from persons to person. Some people may be good at remember keystrokes, but I can safely say its not the generic population.

Patterns are natural for humans and for me I would avoid picture password all together. Microsoft could do well to warn it users the potential of people remembering their picture password, even from afar, as a caveat.

What I would have prefer for safe touch screen unlocking mechanism is either face or voice PLUS thumb print recognition. 🙂

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in General, Windows

 

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