Pictures make the password

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed an alternative way of authenticating users that they claim is easier to use than passwords.

Called Picture Passwords, this technique involves having a person choose a series of thumbnail-sized photos from a selection of onscreen images to access a computer. Up to 930 images can be used, a greater possible range of combinations than text passwords. The visual cues also would be easier for the user to remember, the researchers said. For more information, go to and type 119 into the Quick Find box.


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