Inventor of the Computer Password Dies at Age 93

Fernando “Corby” Corbato, inventor of the computer password, has died at the age of 93. Corbato created the password-protected user account model during his research on his Compatible Time-Sharing System, a process which allowed multiple people access to a system at the same time. At the time he considered it a method of compartmentalization and privacy, though the idea would shape account security procedures from that point forward.

Other contributions to modern computing include the Multics time-sharing system, which laid the groundwork for future operating systems with sophisticated privacy controls and hierarchical file systems commonly used today.

He also formulated “Corbato’s Law,” which states: 

“The number of lines of code a programmer can write in a fixed period of time is the same, independent of the language used.”

This made the case for using higher-level abstracted programming languages rather than low-level “close-to-the-metal” code that typically requires more writing more granular commands for basic operations and thus is less efficient to write.

While the industry has in recent years been moving toward password-free access methods such as facial recognition technology, fingerprint scanning, and physical security keys, there is no doubt that the user/password model played a key role in shaping modern cybersecurity practices.

To find out more about how to manage your facility’s security practices, feel free to contact Nodal!