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User Study, Analysis, and Usable Security of Passwords Based on Digital Objects

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4 Author(s)
Robert Biddle ; School of Computer Science, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada ; Mohammad Mannan ; Paul C. van Oorschot ; Tara Whalen

Despite all efforts, password schemes intended to deploy or encourage the use of strong passwords have largely failed. As an alternative to enable users to create, maintain, and use high-quality passwords willingly, we propose Object-based Password (ObPwd), leveraging the universe of personal or personally meaningful digital content that many users now own or have access to. ObPwd converts user-selected digital objects to high-entropy text passwords. Memorization of exact passwords is replaced by remembering password objects. We present the design details, variants, and usability and security analysis of ObPwd, and report on the results of a hybrid in-lab/at-home user study on 32 participants. The results suggest the scheme has good usability, with excellent memorability, acceptable login times, and very positive user perception, achieved while providing strong security for the threat context explored. We believe this work lays the foundation for a promising password selection paradigm.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 3 )