Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Faces in a Crowd Offer Alternative to Passwords

Passfaces authetication screenshot.
Image source: Passfaces

Interesting approach.

Will Knight writes on NewScientistTech:

Familiar faces could take the place of complex and hard-to-remember computer passwords, if a security system developed in the US takes off.

Instead of requiring users to remember a string of letters and numbers before granting access to a computer, the new system asks them to pick out a pre-agreed set of faces from several grids of other faces.

The system has been developed by a company called Passfaces, based in Maryland, US. A string of randomly selected faces is hard for an attacker to guess but easy for a user to remember, the company says.

"Part of the human brain has evolved specifically to remember and recognise faces," says CEO Paul Barrett. "While you have to make a conscious effort to memorise and recall passwords, the equivalent processes for faces are completely intuitive."

Barrett says a Passfaces authentication system that asks a user to pick out five faces from five different grids of nine faces is roughly equivalent to a random seven-character password. A demo version of the system is available here.

More here.


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