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An empirical study of an authentication

Nosseir, Ann and Connor, Richard and Revie, Crawford (2006) An empirical study of an authentication. In: ACM Human Computer Interaction Conference, 2006-04-24 - 2006-04-27.

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On the Internet, there is an uneasy tension between the security and usability of authentication mechanisms. An easy three-part classification is: 'something you know' (e.g. password); 'something you hold' (e.g. device holding digital certificate), and 'who you are' (e.g. biometric assessment) [9]. Each of these has well-known problems; passwords are written down, guessable, or forgotten; devices are lost or stolen, and biometric assays alienate users. We have investigated a novel strategy of querying the user based on their personal history (a 'Rip van Winkle' approach.) The sum of this information is large and well-known only to the individual. The volume is too large for impostors to learn; our observation is that, in the emerging environment, it is possible to collate and automatically query such information as an authentication test.