Pub. online:17 Jun 2022Type:Research ArticleOpen Access
Volume 33, Issue 2 (2022), pp. 225–246
The paper presents a secure and usable variant of the Game Changer Password System, first proposed by McLennan, Manning, and Tuft. Unlike the initial proposal based on inadequately secure Monopoly and Chess, we propose an improved version based on a layered “Battleship” game resilient against brute force and dictionary attacks. Since the initially proposed scheme did not check for the memorability and usability of a layered version, we conducted an experiment on the usability and memorability aspects. Surprisingly, layered passwords are just as memorable as single ones and, with an 80% recall rate, comparable to other graphical password systems. The claim that memorability is the most vital aspect of game-based password systems cannot be disproved. However, the experiment revealed that the usability decreased to such a low level that users felt less inclined to use such a system daily or recommend it to others.
Our study has once again shown that optimizing the password security–memorability–usability triangle is hard to achieve without compromising one of its cornerstones. However, the layered Game Changer Password System can be used in specific applications where usability is of secondary importance, while security and memorability augmented by its graphical interface are at the forefront.
Volume 31, Issue 3 (2020), pp. 459–479
After Morris and Thompson wrote the first paper on password security in 1979, strict password policies have been enforced to make sure users follow the rules on passwords. Many such policies require users to select and use a system-generated password. The objective of this paper is to analyse the effectiveness of strict password management policies with respect to how users remember system-generated passwords of different textual types – plaintext strings, passphrases, and hybrid graphical-textual PsychoPass passwords. In an experiment, participants were assigned a random string, passphrase, and PsychoPass passwords and had to memorize them. Surprisingly, no one has remembered either the random string or the passphrase, whereas only 10% of the participants remembered their PsychoPass password. The policies where administrators let systems assign passwords to users are not appropriate. Although PsychoPass passwords are easier to remember, the recall rate of any system-assigned password is below the acceptable level. The findings of this study explain that system-assigned strong passwords are inappropriate and put unacceptable memory burden on users.