Windows 8 to let you use a picture as your password

Windows 8 will offer a unique approach to logging in by letting you use a photo as your password.

Since traditional passwords and PIN numbers can be hard to remember and use, Microsoft wanted to cook up a different log-in method, especially one that would prove more user-friendly on touchscreen devices.

As detailed in the latest Building Windows 8 Blog, Zach Pace, a program manager on Microsoft's You Centered Experience team, explained how using a photo as your password can make things simple to remember as well as secure. Already available in the Developer Preview, this new method consists … Read more

IBM: Mind reading is less than five years away. For real.

The world is changing fast--maybe faster than we ever thought. And within five years, science fiction is going to turn into non-fiction. We'll be able to read each other's minds, forget all our passwords, and create all our own homes' energy.

These are just three of the five predictions IBM announced this morning as part of its annual "5 in 5" prognostication project.

The list is meant to promote long-term work being done under Big Blue's Smarter Planet initiative--and the company says "5 in 5" already has a track record of success. In … Read more

Windows 8 aims to take pain out of managing passwords

Juggling passwords for all the Web sites and accounts we use is a neverending challenge, but one that Microsoft hopes to resolve in Windows 8.

Protecting yourself on the Internet typically requires the use of passwords. But that process has never been easy or truly safe. Most people either try to remember too many passwords or simply use the same passwords for all their accounts. Both approaches leave the door open for hackers to access your personal information.

What's needed is a simpler yet still secure approach.

In the latest edition of the Building Windows 8 blog, Dustin Ingalls, … Read more

Track keystrokes with Free Keylogger

You probably know that keyloggers are programs that capture a computer user's keystrokes, most often surreptitiously. As the name suggests, IwantSoft's Free Keylogger is a freeware keylogging app. It can track and record keystrokes, clipboard activity, and Net surfing on individual PCs or networks (with administrative access) without users being able to see it or disable it. Of course, you need access to a user's PC to install Free Keylogger, and there are ethical and potential legal issues involved when you monitor someone else's computer use. But for parents who need to know what their kids … Read more

Secure your log-in information with Save Users and Passwords

More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of having strong passwords to protect their e-mail, banking information, and myriad other electronic accounts containing sensitive data. The problem with strong passwords, of course, is that they can be hard to remember. There are lots of tools out there that can help with this task, and Save Users and Passwords is among the more basic options we've seen. It's pretty bare-bones, but it does a fine job of keeping all of your log-in information stored in a secure, centralized place.

The program's interface is quite plain … Read more

Safeguard your passwords with Secure Password Manager

Computer users are facing increasing pressure to use strong passwords to protect their accounts, but that's not always easy to do when the best passwords--long, random strings of numbers and letters--are so hard to remember. Secure Password Manager is one of many tools designed to store passwords in one safe spot, keeping them handy but also protected.

Secure Password Manager has a unique interface, with styling we can only describe as space-age. Generally, though, the program is easy to figure out. We first created a new user and master password under which to store our passwords. Then we created … Read more

Get basic password storage with Easy Password Keeper

As passwords have gotten more secure, they've also gotten increasingly complex and harder to remember. As a result, a crop of password-management programs has sprung up to help users keep track of their passwords without resorting to sticky notes on the sides of their monitors. Easy Password Keeper is a very simple, and not particularly intuitive, option for this task. It's not awful, but we've seen other programs that are both easier to use and more secure.

The program's interface is somewhat sparse, with a tree hierarchy down the left side with categories for passwords, Web … Read more

Get ironclad passwords with SoftFuse Password Generator Free

All too many people use passwords that are both easy to remember and easy for other people to figure out, which can leave e-mail, Internet banking, and many other sensitive accounts vulnerable to hacking. One of the best ways to protect your accounts is to use a long, randomly generated password, and to use a different one for each account. SoftFuse Password Generator Free makes it easy to create strong, customized passwords. All you have to do is figure out how to keep track of them.

The program's interface is simple, with a box in which users enter the … Read more

Safeguard your data with Free Password Manager

Chances are, you have all kinds of sensitive data lurking on your computer that could easily fall into the wrong hands if your machine were ever lost or stolen. Free Password Manager does much more than its name might imply. In addition to storing passwords, this simple utility can securely store all kinds of personal information, making it easy for you--but not others--to access.

The program has a simple but professional-looking interface, with a tree hierarchy down the left side that lets users organize their records in folders. The program comes with a sample database with folders for contacts, credit … Read more

User tips for managing Mail password rejection

Recently we described a problem some people have been having with Apple's Mail e-mail client, where the program will request you to supply your account password but then continue to reject it.

The occurrence of this problem seems random, making it difficult to troubleshoot, but I suggested people try tackling problems with their keychains and the Mail preferences files as relatively general approaches to dealing with this issue. In response to our article, a number of readers commented or wrote in with tips on tackling this problem, with some of them being either quicker ways or additional areas that … Read more