The Weaknesses of Passwords and Alternative Authentication Technologies

Harris, A. (2015). The Weaknesses of Passwords and Alternative Authentication Technologies (MSc ASDF Dissertation). Edinburgh Napier University (Greig, F., Armitage, A.).


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Abstract

Cyber-crime costs businesses millions in lost revenue. The number of attacks
on businesses is increasing every day. Text-based passwords are one of the
key targets of these attacks. This work investigates the cryptographic
weaknesses of text-based passwords to demonstrate their vulnerability. This
work also considers the social weaknesses of text-based passwords,
concluding that users are hampered by their own cognitive limitations and
poor security awareness.
Evaluation of two alternative authentication technologies concludes that
despite the inherent strengths of each alternative technology, neither would
be capable of replacing text-based password use.
Future system design should include a detailed evaluation of the available
authentication methods and the final choice made with the user base and the
intended use of the system in mind.
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    Keywords: security