Improving Password Memorability, While Not Inconveniencing the User
Woods, N., & Siponen, M. (2019). Improving Password Memorability, While Not Inconveniencing the User. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 128, 61-71. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2019.02.003
Published inInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd.
Passwords are the most frequently used authentication mechanism. However, due to increased password numbers, there has been an increase in insecure password behaviors (e.g., password reuse). Therefore, new and innovative ways are needed to increase password memorability and security. Typically, users are asked to input their passwords once in order to access the system, and twice to verify the password, when they create a new account. But what if users were asked to input their passwords three or four times when they create new accounts? In this study, three groups of participants were asked to verify their passwords once (control group), twice, and three times (two experimental groups). Psychological literature suggests that applying repetition in learning to the password process has significant effects on password memorability. However, previous password research has found a tradeoff between password security and memorability, and more recently, user convenience. Our results suggest that verifying passwords three times can increase password memorability from 42% (verifying passwords just once as with current practices) to 70%. Even by increasing the verification to just two times can increase password memorability by 17%. However, we found that through increasing the number of verifications did not equate to a decrease in user convenience. What this means is that small changes to the password verification stage can have significant results on password memorability while not necessarily inconveniencing the user. The implications of these results could ultimately have a positive effect on password security, and the consequences of forgetting passwords. ...
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