Security and Usability in Knowledge-based User Authentication: A Review

[c214] Katsini, C., Belk, M., Fidas, C., Avouris, N., & Samaras, G. (2016, November). Security and Usability in Knowledge-based User Authentication: A Review. In Proceedings of the 20th Pan-Hellenic Conference on Informatics (PCI '16). Article 63 , 6 pages. ACM.
DOI: 10.1145/3003733.3003764


This paper presents a comprehensive review of state-of-the-art research works in knowledge-based user authentication, covering the security and usability aspects of the most prominent user authentication schemes; text-, pin- and graphical-based. From the security perspective, we analyze current threats from a user and service provider perspective. Furthermore, based on current practices in authentication policies, we summarize and discuss their security strengths based on widely applied security metrics. From the usability point of view, we present and discuss the usability of each authentication scheme in regards with task performance and user experience. The analysis reveals that although a plethora of alternative user authentication schemes have been proposed in the literature and users interact differently with the various alternatives, online service providers do not yet adopt alternatives to text-based solutions. We further discuss and identify areas for further research and improved methodology with the aim to drive this research towards the design of sustainable, secure and usable authentication approaches.


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