Saturday 25 October, 2014

Shape gestures to secure phone passwords better

Published On: Thu, Jun 5th, 2014 | Telecommunications | By BioNews

What if you can unlock your smartphone or iPad with free-form gestures – sweeping fingers in shapes across the screen – to avoid “shoulder surfers”?

You may soon be creating your own shapes, which are difficult to imitate, as your unique passwords, researchers said.

“‘Shoulder surfers’, who spy on users to gain unauthorised access may be anywhere. As more people use smartphones or tablets to pay bills, make purchases, store personal information and even control access to their houses, the need for robust password security has become more critical than ever,” said Janne Lindqvist, an assistant professor at Rutgers University in the US.

“With our technology, you can create any shape, using any number of fingers, and in any size or location on the screen,” Lindqvist added.

To test the potential of this security protection option, the researchers applied a generate-test-retest paradigm where 63 participants were asked to create a gesture, recall it, and recall it again 10 days later.

The gestures were captured on a recogniser system designed by the team.

Their analysis demonstrated results favourable to user-generated, free-form gestures as passwords.

To put their analysis to practice, the researchers then had seven computer science and engineering students attempt to steal a free-form gesture password by shoulder surfing.

None of the participants was able to replicate the gestures with enough accuracy, so while testing is in its preliminary stages, the gestures appear extremely powerful against attacks.

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