An Experimental Comparison of Secret-Based User Authentication Technologies
Authors: I. Irakleous, Steven Furnell, P. S. Dowland, M. Papadaki

Date: 2002
Publication: Information Management and Computer Security, Volume 10, Number 3
Page(s): 100 - 108
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Abstract or Summary:
The paper presents a comparative study of software-based user authentication techniques, contrasting the use of traditional password and personal identifier numbers (PIN) against alternative methods involving question and answer responses and graphical representation. All methods share the common basis of some secret knowledge and rely upon the userís ability to recall it in order to achieve authentication. An experimental trial is described, along with the results based upon 27 participants. The alternative methods are assessed in terms of practical effectiveness (in this context relating to the participantís ability to authenticate themselves a significant time after initial use of the methods), as well as the perceived levels of user friendliness and security that they provide. The investigation concludes that while passwords and PIN approaches garner good ratings on the basis of their existing familiarity to the participants, other methods based upon image recall and cognitive questions also achieved sufficiently positive results to suggest them as viable alternatives in certain contexts.

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