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Gates: Now's the time to stop using passwords--really

For years, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has said that passwords are the weak link in the computer security chain. For years also he has called on computer users to move away from passwords to smart cards or other authentication methods.

Gates did it again on Tuesday as he kicked off this year's RSA Conference in San Francisco. "Passwords are not only weak, passwords have the huge problem that if you get more and more of them, the worse it is," Gates said.

The time is now really right to do away with passwords, according to Gates.

In Vista, Microsoft introduced Windows CardSpace for consumers to use instead of passwords. CardSpace is an application that is meant to represent an individual's wallet with different cards to use for identification in online transactions.

For businesses Microsoft plans to release Identity Lifecycle Manager 2007 in May and has other products as well. "We think this is the milestone where enterprises should start the migration from passwords to smart cards," Gates said.