Graphical Password Authentication

With increasing technical advancements the world is becoming digital at a high pace and everything is happening online. From paying your bills to ticket bookings to paying the person sitting next to you, you prefer to pay online. Not only payments but all activities, be it, communication through e-mails and messaging apps, keeping your documents in a digital locker, etc happen online.

With everything turning online, the risk of cybercrimes and privacy breaches is also increasing. Passwords play a huge role in keeping your data safe online as well as offline platforms. Passwords are the default method of authentication to get access to our accounts. There are various types of authentication available for users to secure their accounts.

Types of authentication

  • Token-based authentication includes key cards, bank cards, smart cards, etc.
  • Knowledge-based authentication includes text-based authentication and picture-based authentication.
  • Biometric authentication include fingerprints authentication, iris scan and facial recognition.

Considering the traditional username-password authentication, the alphanumeric passwords are either easy to guess or difficult to remember. Also, users generally keep the same passwords for all their accounts because it is difficult to remember a lot of them. Alternative authentication methods, such as biometrics, graphical passwords are used to overcome these problems associated with the traditional username-password authentication technique.

In a graphical password authentication system, the user has to select from images, in a specific order, presented to them in a graphical user interface (GUI). According to a study, the human brain has a greater capability of remembering what they see(pictures) rather than alphanumeric characters. Therefore, graphical passwords overcome the disadvantage of alphanumeric passwords. Graphical Password Authentication has three major categories based on the activity they use for authentication of the password:

  • Recognition based Authentication: A user is given a set of images and he has to identify the image he selected during registration.
    For example, Passfaces is a graphical password scheme based on recognizing human faces. During password creation, users are given a large set of images to select from. To log in, users have to identify the pre-selected image from the several images presented to him.
  • Recall based Authentication: A user is asked to reproduce something that he created or selected at the registration stage. For example, in the Passpoint scheme, a user can click any point in an image to create the password and a tolerance around each pixel is calculated. During authentication, the user has to select the points within the tolerance in the correct sequence to login.
  • Cued Recall: Cued Click Points (CCP) is an alternative to the PassPoints technique. In CCP, users click one point on each image rather than on five points on one image (unlike PassPoints). It offers cued-recall and instantly alerts the users if they make a mistake while entering their latest click-point.

Advantages:

  • It is user-friendly.
  • It provides higher security than other traditional password schemes.
  • Dictionary attacks are infeasible.
  • CCP makes attacks based on hotspot analysis more challenging.

Disadvantages:

  • Registration and login take too long.
  • It requires more storage space because of images.
  • Shoulder surfing(Watching over people’s shoulders as they process information).
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