Sauvik Das, Gierad Laput, Chris Harrison, and Jason I. Hong


ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)


May 2017


Small, local groups who share protected resources (e.g., families, work teams, student organizations) have unmet authentication needs. For these groups, existing authentication strategies either create unnecessary social divisions (e.g., biometrics), do not identify individuals (e.g., shared passwords), do not equitably distribute security responsibility (e.g., individual passwords), or make it difficult to share or revoke access (e.g., physical keys). To explore an alternative, we designed Thumprint: inclusive group authentication with a shared secret knock. All group members share one secret knock, but individual expressions of the secret are discernible. We evaluated the usability and security of our concept through two user studies with 30 participants. Our results suggest that (1) individuals who enter the same shared thumprint are distinguishable from one another, (2) that people can enter thumprints consistently over time, and (3) that thumprints are resilient to casual adversaries.

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