Security and usability in a hybrid property based graphical authentication system

Suru, HU 2018, Security and usability in a hybrid property based graphical authentication system , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Alphanumeric text and PINs continue to be the dominant authentication methods in spite of the numerous concerns by security researchers of their inability to properly address usability and security flaws and to effectively combine usability and security. These flaws have, however, contributed to the growing research interest in the development and use of graphical authentication systems as alternatives to text based systems. Graphical passwords or graphical authentication systems are password systems that use images rather than characters or numbers in user authentication. The picture superiority effect, a belief that humans are better able to memorise images than text, has very much influenced the proliferation of and support for graphical authentication systems.

In spite of their growing acceptance, however, empirical studies have shown that graphical authentication systems have also inherited some of the flaws of text based passwords. These flaws include predictability, vulnerability to observational attacks and the inability of systems to efficiently combine security with usability. Hence there is a continued quest among usable security researchers to find that hypothetical system that has both strong usability and strong security.

In this research, a novel concept for hybrid graphical authentication systems is developed. This consists of a class of systems that are called ‘property based authentication systems’ which adopt the use of image properties for user authentication, rather than specific images as used in existing systems. Image properties are specified contents of images which gives the image a set of characteristics. Several implementations of these systems have been developed and evaluated. Significant empirical performance studies have been conducted to evaluate these systems in terms of usability and security. The usability evaluations conducted evaluate the systems in terms effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction, while security evaluations measure their susceptibility to common attacks. The results from these studies suggests that property based systems have better usability and security when compared to commonly known and well researched graphical authentication systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Antonacopoulos, A (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
Funders: Tertiary Education Fund, Nigeria
Depositing User: Hassan Umar Suru
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2018 14:18
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:53

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