Improved passphrases could make online experiences both user-friendly and secure

phys.org | 8/3/2018 | Staff
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Although passphrases, or phrase-based passwords, have been found to be more secure than traditional passwords, human factors issues such as typographical errors and memorability have slowed their wider adoption. Kevin Juang and Joel Greenstein, in their recently published Human Factors article, "Integrating Visual Mnemonics and Input Feedback With Passphrases to Improve the Usability and Security of Digital Authentication," developed and tested two new passphrase systems that seek to address these shortcomings and improve the usability and security of existing passphrase authentication systems.

The authors'' first passphrase system incorporated, in part, a specialized wordlist using simple, common words; a six-word sentence structure that made meaningful sense; and a user-created mnemonic picture to assist with recall. The final result would be a passphrase such as "silly pet wolf ate our pizzas," with an accompanying user-generated illustration. The second passphrase system replaced the six-word sentence structure with four words randomly drawn from a customized 1,450-word list.

Juang - Greenstein - Usability - Systems - Passphrase

Juang and Greenstein assessed the usability of their systems against two existing passphrase systems: a user-generated passphrase containing at least 24 characters, and a system-generated passphrase using words randomly drawn from a list of 10,000. To gauge the success of their new systems, the authors asked 50 adult participants to create, in five minutes, a passphrase and any applicable mnemonic—without writing down what they created. The participants completed two recall sessions, one immediately following the creation of the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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