(WSJ) Despite Data Thefts, the Password Endures

Fernando Corbató didn’t intend to unleash havoc when he helped create the first computer password at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1960s.

“It’s become kind of a nightmare,” says the 87-year-old retired researcher. “I don’t think anybody can possibly remember all the passwords.”

Passwords are a bane to computer and smartphone users and a security threat to companies. On Wednesday, eBay Inc. EBAY -0.73% urged its 145 million users to change their passwords because of a data breach. But if the past is a guide, few people will heed the warning.

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