Computer Security Graphical Passwords

Source: ACM News Service.

Rutgers University-Camden computer science professor Jean-Camille Birget and colleagues have developed a new computer security program that makes use of graphical passwords and an icon system. The new program works by having a user select areas of a complex picture (such as a landscape or cityscape), or “click points” that are easier to remember than a password consisting of letters and numbers because of their selection in a relatively random manner. During the researcher’s study, users chose 10 icons, which were then scrambled with nearly 200 others. Users gained entry into the system by locating the shapes, such as triangles, that have their icons in the corners, clicking inside the shape, and repeating the process 10 times. The program does not require users to click on their icons, which makes it difficult for someone to steal their password by shoulder surfing. “The main idea behind our model is to allow a user to prove knowledge of a secret, without revealing the secret itself to either the authenticating party or a potential observer,” says researcher Leonardo Sobrado.

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