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Simple Nudges for Better Password Creation

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Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI)

Human Computer Interaction Conference

4 - 6 July 2018

User Authentication, Passwords, Nudges

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      Abstract

      Recent security breaches have highlighted the consequences of reusing passwords across online accounts. Recent guidance on password policies by the UK government recommend an emphasis on password length over an extended character set for generating secure but memorable passwords without cognitive overload. This paper explores the role of three nudges in creating website-specific passwords: financial incentive (present vs absent), length instruction (long password vs no instruction) and stimulus (picture present vs not present). Mechanical Turk workers were asked to create a password in one of these conditions and the resulting passwords were evaluated based on character length, resistance to automated guessing attacks, and time taken to create the password. We found that users created longer passwords when asked to do so or when given a financial incentive and these longer passwords were harder to guess than passwords created with no instruction. Using a picture nudge to support password creation did not lead to passwords that were either longer or more resistant to attacks but did lead to account-specific passwords.

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [a ] PaCT Lab, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
            [b ] Open Lab, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
            Contributors
            Conference
            July 2018
            July 2018
            : 1-12
            10.14236/ewic/HCI2018.46
            © Nicholsona et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of British HCI 2018. Belfast, UK.

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference
            HCI
            32
            Belfast, UK
            4 - 6 July 2018
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Human Computer Interaction Conference
            Product
            Product Information: 1477-9358 BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Categories
            Electronic Workshops in Computing

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