Making Passwords Secure and Usable
Authors: Anne Adams, Martina Angela Sasse, Peter Lunt

Date: August 1997
Publication: People and Computers XII, Proceedings of HCI '97
Page(s): 1 - 19
Source: Currently no known Internet copy of paper.

Abstract or Summary:
To date, system research has focused on designing security mechanisms to protect systems access although their usability has rarely been investigated. This paper reports a study in which users’ perceptions of password mechanisms were investigated through questionnaires and interviews. Analysis of the questionnaires shows that many users report problems, linked to the number of passwords and frequency of password use. In-depth analysis of the interview data revealed that the degree to which users conform to security mechanisms depends on their perception of security levels, information sensitivity and compatibility with work practices. Security mechanisms incompatible with these perceptions may be circumvented by users and thereby undermine system security overall.

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