Windows 8 introduces two new sign-in options, and I can’t say I’m in favour of them.
You still use a password (if you don’t you should if only to stop the kids changing your settings and, in the case of our Grandson, trying to order on Amazon) but you can now choose to sign-in using 3 gestures or touches on a photograph of your choosing or using a 4 digit pin number in the same way you would on a phone.
OK, for those who don’t know, here’s why I’m not in favour of these methods: security people all over the world, including those from Microsoft have been telling us for years to use strong passwords and I agree with them;
If someone gains access my computer they will have access to a lot of my client data as well as my finance and other personal details – this is a bad thing in more than one way.
My own password consists of 11 characters including upper and lower case letters, numbers and the punctuation characters; which means there are a very large number of permutations for someone to guess it. Even if someone is looking over my shoulder when I am typing it it is unlikely that they will be able to remember what I typed.
Now lets look at the 4 digit pin; odds on you would use the same number that you use for you phone and your credit card PIN; probably even the alarm code as well. A 4 digit number is relatively easy to remember, and someone looking over your shoulder can work out what you are typing on the keyboard. With a phone the keyboard is small and reasonably safe because of the way you hold it; at an ATM you would be vary weary if you had someone close enough to look over your shoulder.
At work you very often have someone close enough to see what you are doing so not so good.
It’s even worse with a photo on the screen – you only have three points to touch or gesture to so it would be very easy for someone to copy.
If you don’t mind your children playing with your computer at home it’s not a problem; but if its a work machine you really want to be secure; If someone gets on it they have access to everything that you do.