New tool can tell you how unsafe your password is

Got a secure password? You may have to rethink!

Washington: Got a secure password? You may have to rethink!

US software giant Microsoft has developed a new internet tool that tells you how vulnerable your passwords may be, helping you choose better passwords in the future.

The tool `Telepasswords` tries to predict the next character of your passwords by using knowledge of: common passwords, such as those made public as a result of security breaches, common phrases and common password-selection behaviors.

The new project from Microsoft Research has a simple premise: you start typing one of your favourite passwords in its little text box, and it tries to guess what the next character is.

"To guess the next character you will type, we send the characters you have already typed to query our prediction engine. The prediction engine uses a database of common passwords and phrases that is too large for us send to your computer," the project website said.

To measure how much of an effect Telepathwords has on your behaviour, the tool also sends and maintains a log of your mouse movements and the timings of when characters are added to or removed from your password.

"This log does not contain the actual characters you type, but it does indicate whether each character was among those predicted by Telepathwords," the project website said.

Telepathwords uses a log for research intended to increase its understanding of how users choose passwords and how to help them choose better passwords in the future.