Security Versatility Under Windows 8 and Windows RT

Under prior versions of Windows it was pretty much a given that you would login using a username and password. These instances would far outnumber the usage of biometric scanners and smartcards although those are also valid alternatives.

However, with the release of Windows 8 and Windows RT comes the ability to choose from a number of authentication methods, including:

  • a password (traditional),
  • a picture password,
  • a PIN.

These methods are available across ARM-based tablets and x86 tablets, laptops and desktops. There is also the added convenience of having multiple authentication methods in place at the same time but with convenience can come a potential risk of allowing access to your device more easily.

By default, you should have a password setup so if you want to setup a picture password or PIN do the following:

  1. Press the Window key to get to the Start Screen,
  2. Press Window + C or swipe in from the right of the screen,
  3. Tap or click Settings,
  4. Tap or click Change PC settings,
  5. Tap or click Users in the list on the left,
  6. On the right, under Sign-in options tap Create a picture password or Create a PIN,
  7. Follow the wizard,
  8. Repeat if you also want to add the other password type to your device.

Next time you attempt to sign in to your locked device you can choose which method you want to use by tapping Sign-in options if you are prompted for a PIN or password. Otherwise, if you are using a picture password tap on Switch to password on the left.

Bear in mind, by allowing multiple authentication methods you may make it very easy to get into the device if you make the password easy to guess so make sure you use something unique and out of the ordinary to reduce this risk.

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