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Facelock, an alternative to passwords, designed by UK Scientists

Jun 27, 2014 15:10 IST

Researchers at the University of York in the U.K. designed an alternative to passwords called Facelock. The new alternative will be based on the psychology of facial recognition.

The new research was published in the open-access journal PeerJ.

Facelock builds upon the psychological insight by having users choose a selection of faces that are well known to them. Then when they want to log in or get access to a secure system, a series of face grids is created, and users must select the familiar face in each grid.

It’s easy for users to select a familiar face from the crowd but tough for others to hack, since none of the faces will stand out to them.

imageComparatively, it’s easier for the users to recall familiar images, even after one year, while unused passwords were forgotten within days. Facelock security is also enhanced by offering users a large pool of target images to choose from.

Earlier, there was a system known as Passfaces, images were used to authenticate users. However, it was susceptible to shoulder-surfing attacks, in which fraudulent users could simply memorize the image from watching users over their shoulder and hack into the system.

To overcome that threat, Facelock uses a variety of different images of familiar faces, which are easily recognizable to people who know them but not so readily identified by strangers.

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