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Windows Picture Passwords - are they really as "easily crackable" as everyone's saying?

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Sr. Community Expert Advisor

Windows Picture Passwords - are they really as "easily crackable" as everyone's saying?

If you've used Windows 8, or even just seen the ads for it, you'll know it has a feature called Picture Passwords.
You choose a picture, any picture, and then "annotate" it with three finger movements: you can tap a point, draw a stroke, or sweep a circle.
The picture helps you to remember where you made the gestures, so you can repeat them reliably enough to pass the test and unlock your device.
If you have a touch screen tablet, Picture Passwords are surprisingly handy. (Pun intended.)
But how safe are they?

One of the ads I've seen for Windows 8 made a pretty big deal out of the coolness of Picture Passwords, and illustrated their convenience with a login sequence to which my immediate reaction was, "Surely not?"
The ad showed a picture of someone's two young daughters, heads close together and looking at some distant object; the password involved circling their heads and then drawing a line in the direction they were looking.
That struck me as far, far too easily guessed; a bit like an ad showing someone choosing the keyboard password SECRET and implying that would be good enough.

 

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Sr. Community Expert Advisor


 


2016-07-18_12-11-32.png Microsoft® Windows Insider MVP - Windows Security

1 REPLY
Retired Webrooter

Re: Windows Picture Passwords - are they really as "easily crackable" as everyone's saying

It's true - this kind of password is weak. Easily guessed or not, the finger residue pattern left on the screen is usually a giveaway.
/// JimM ///
/// Former Community Manager - Now Humble Internet Citizen///
/// Also Formerly a Technical Support Escalations Engineer ///