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Using Fingerprint Authentication to Reduce System Security: An Empirical Study

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2 Author(s)
Hugh Wimberly ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Eng., New Mexico Inst. of Min. & Technol., Socorro, NM, USA ; Lorie M. Liebrock

Choosing the security architecture and policies for a system is a demanding task that must be informed by an understanding of user behavior. We investigate the hypothesis that adding visible security features to a system increases user confidence in the security of a system and thereby causes users to reduce how much effort they spend in other security areas. In our study, 96 volunteers each created a pair of accounts, one secured only by a password and one secured by both a password and a fingerprint reader. Our results strongly support our hypothesis - on average. When using the fingerprint reader, users created passwords that would take one three-thousandth as long to break, thereby potentially negating the advantage two-factor authentication could have offered.

Published in:

2011 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy

Date of Conference:

22-25 May 2011