Password inventor says his creation is now “a nightmare”



ernando Corbato, the MIT computer scientist who is widely credited with inventing the password as a means of logging into a computer,  says that he and his colleagues could not foresee the World Wide Web from the early Sixties – and passwords have now become “kind of a nightmare.”

The data breach at eBay threw this into sharp relief, with security experts such as ESET’s Lysa Myers raising questions over why such important data was not protected with additional measures such as “two-factor authentication” or “2FA”.

“Unfortunately it’s become kind of a nightmare with the World Wide Web,” Corbato said. “I don’t think anybody can possibly remember all the passwords that are issued or set up. That leaves people with two choices. Either you maintain a crib sheet, a mild no-no, or you use some sort of program as a password manager. Either one is a nuisance.”

“The notion of a password goes way back. What had happened was we were sharing a mainframe and we had a common disk file. People weren’t used to sharing in those days. It was just an attempt to put in some compartmentalization so people didn’t have to live in a communal setting,” Corbato said.

Corbato revealed in an interview with Wall Street Journal’s Digits Blog that he himself had around 150 passwords, and now committed security sins such as writing down a “crib sheet” to remember them all.

“First of all, we didn’t foresee the current Internet either. Passwords are not a super high level of security, but are enough to protect against casual snooping,” Corbato said, acording to Business Insider

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