Windows 8 which is expected to be released anytime this year will allow computer users to login using picture passwords. The concept is simple. You need to select an image from the picture gallery in your computer. You then need to specify a gesture to authenticate secure login. Something like drawing a circle or drawing a line between 2 points inside an image. There is no restriction on which picture or what type of picture that can be used as password. For e.g., you have a family picture inside the gallery in which you specify that you touch the nose of your relative in order to login. That becomes your password. Next time when you need to login to computer, touch the nose of your relative you specified and that will log you in.
According to Zach pace , Microsoft program manager, picture passwords provided a sign in method that was fast, fluid and personal to the user. Apart from that, it is more robust and secure. Someone who wants to reproduce picture password need to know not only the parts of the image highlighted, but also the gestures that were mentioned while creating it. There are no restrictions on the content of picture or type of picture used for the purpose.
Why picture passwords?
Traditional login authentication creates security issues as most users choose easy to remember password. Alphanumeric passwords are stronger, but vulnerable to Keylogger programs which records and reproduces what a user typed in the keyboard. Microsoft hope that picture passwords will solve this problem.
Windows 8 developers claim that the signing in process is more secure and faster using this method. An added advantage is the personal flavor it brings to Windows 8.
But not everyone is thrilled about this. According to critics, drawing a pattern across the picture is easy to record from a distance and can be recreated easily. Someone who is shoulder surfing can easily do it on the PC and login. When it comes to using alphanumeric passwords, the password is hidden by starring out the characters onscreen as you type.
Another problem is backing up password. It is not yet clear as how it is possible to backup picture password. Anyways Microsoft will definitely keep the traditional login style as well as picture passwords as not much users will be comfortable with that.
Not much information is available on the usage of picture passwords. I will be adding as more information is available.