Securing Passfaces for Description

  1. Lookup NU author(s)
  2. Dr Paul Dunphy
  3. James Nicholson
  4. Professor Patrick Olivier
Author(s)Dunphy P, Nicholson J, Olivier P
Publication type Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)
Conference NameProceedings of the Fourth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS)
Conference LocationPittsburgh, PA, USA
Year of Conference2008
Source Publication Date23-25 July 2008
Series TitleACM International Conference Proceedings
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One common practice in relation to alphanumeric passwords is to write them down or share them with a trusted friend or colleague. Graphical password schemes often claim the advantage that they are significantly more secure with respect to both verbal disclosure and writing down. We investigated the reality of this claim in relation to the Passfaces graphical password scheme. By collecting a corpus of naturalistic descriptions of a set of 45 faces, we explored participants' ability to associate descriptions with faces across three conditions in which the decoy faces were selected: (1) at random; (2) on the basis of their visual similarity to the target face; and (3) on the basis of the similarity of the verbal descriptions of the decoy faces to the target face. Participants were found to perform significantly worse when presented with visual and verbally grouped decoys, suggesting that Passfaces can be further secured for description. Subtle differences in both the nature of male and female descriptions, and male and female performance were also observed.
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