Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

School

College of Arts and Sciences

Program

Engineering & Computer Science MS

First Advisor

Roy Villfane

Abstract

Security is one of the major concerns of every industry in the world today. One of the best ways of hacking into a computer system is brute forcing. And with the increase in computing, brute forcing has become faster and easy to do. Text-based passwords are still the most popular and most commonly used form of authentication even though the requirements for a good password are still increasing. Research has shown that the best text-based passwords are the random ones that have no sequence or pattern to them. But this also makes it difficult to remember. Well- documented research has shown that it is easier to remember an image than words, hence the adage "A picture is worth a thousand words." Even though there are good policies for text-based passwords, the unpredictability of users' attitudes and behavior has most of the time rendered these policies inefficient. The common trade-off for the complexity of text-based passwords is recallability. Most users would prefer to use a password they can easily remember than a complex one that they can easily forget. One of the proposed alternatives to text-based passwords is graphical passwords. There are several schemes that have been proposed but are still unpopular. This thesis investigated one of these schemes that are used on mobile devices to determine whether it can be used as an alternative to text-based passwords. Also this research proposes ways to improve this scheme and options of bringing it at par with the current minimum requirements of a good text-based password.

Subject Area

Computers--Access control--Passwords., Computer security.

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