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Why isn't the password protection feature asking for the password?
When a user enters the password at the password protection screen, there is an option on that screen labeled "Log me in automatically each visit", which is enabled by default. That option saves an encrypted version of the password in the user's browser. That is why the next time the user visits the forum they will not be asked for the password.
The user will be asked for the password again only if the password has changed, if the user is using a different computer or browser, or if the user resets their browser cookies.