Microsoft will use picture passwords in Windows 8 in an effort to improve frustrating password input on touchscreen devices.
Using points of interests within an on-screen photo, users will be able to unlock devices with a series of gestures generated using a photo as a template.
“The experience of signing in to your PC with touch has traditionally been a cumbersome one,” said Zack Pace, programme manager, in a blog post.
“In a world with increasingly strict password requirements — with numbers, symbols, and capitalisation — it can take upwards of 30 seconds to enter a long, complex password on a touch keyboard.”
According to Microsoft, the system would enable users to choose an image from their own collection to create a series of gestures – for example, circling a cat’s head and drawing a line to the owner and then the sofa
The image and gesture co-ordinates are then overlaid on a grid for comparison.
“To set up your picture password, you then place your gestures on the field we create. Individual points are defined by their coordinate (x,y) position on the grid,” said Pace.
The input is compared with the original sample each time, Microsoft, said, with an error-ratio comparison deciding whether to grant access to the device.
Microsoft said a five-gesture picture password would create an security level equivalent to a password with 398,046,621,309,172 possible combinations.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk