International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp)


September 2015


We introduce UniAuth, a set of mechanisms for streamlining authentication to devices and web services. With UniAuth, a user first authenticates himself to his UniAuth client, typically his smartphone or wearable device. His client can then authenticate to other services on his behalf. In this paper, we focus on exploring the user experiences with an early iPhone prototype called Knock x Knock. To manage a variety of accounts securely in a usable way, Knock x Knock incorporates features not supported in existing password managers, such as tiered and location-aware lock control, authentication to laptops via knocking, and storing credentials locally while working with laptops seamlessly. In two field studies, 19 participants used Knock x Knock for one to three weeks with their own devices and accounts. Our participants were highly positive about Knock x Knock, demonstrating the desirability of our approach. We also discuss interesting edge cases and design implications.

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