In the early 1960s, Fernando Corbató helped deploy the first known computer password. He acknowledges the password’s flaws — there seems to be a major breach each month — and the public’s frustrations, having to remember strings of code for dozens of digital accounts. “Unfortunately it’s become kind of a nightmare,” he says. But at 87 years old today, he isn’t sorry. Rather, the retired researcher says, the move was pretty logical at the time. Mr. Corbató ran an early computing project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For researchers to have their own accounts, there needed to be a way to separate them. (And give him some credit — no one has developed a widely adopted substitute to the password more than 50 years later.) The Journal recently caught up with Mr. Corbató to discuss his contribution to the password, and how they got out of hand.