Researchers Explore Memory Techniques to Improve Password Security

Image by therichbrooks

Image by therichbrooks

It's clear that online password security is a major global issue that needs to be addressed. Hackers only need users’ most obvious personal information such as their names, birthdays, and pet names to access and exploit their online accounts. In response researchers are exploring ways to retool memory hacks such as the ones detailed in Joshua Foer's Moonwalking With Einstein to help create more robust password security methods.

While most websites offer a password reset feature for their clients’ safety, factors like this can also be problematic. Aside from the inconvenience of being locked out of an online account, a more serious problem is when hackers, who already have enough information to access a user’s information, are able to take over multiple accounts per person.

In an attempt to solve this problem, researchers are testing new techniques. Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists, led by researcher Jeremiah Blocki, are developing an app that features pictures to invoke a user to remember their password to a specific site. For each specific website and password,  four image pairs appear whenever a user visits a login screen.  The user would then associate the words with the password they created for that site. In effect, passwords would become more complex and harder to decipher.

Read the Scientific American article here