Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rutgers Computer Scientists Work to Strengthen Online Security

11.11.2009
Authentication research aims to make it harder to crack security questions

If you forget your password when logging into an e-mail or online shopping Web site, the site will likely ask you a security question: What is your mother’s maiden name? Where were you born?

The trouble is that such questions are not very secure. More people than you may think will know your answers. And if they don’t, it might not be hard to search for it online or even make a lucky guess.

But Rutgers computer scientists are testing a new tactic that could be both easier and more secure.

“We call them activity-based personal questions,” said Danfeng Yao, assistant professor of computer science in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. “Sites could ask you, ‘When was the last time you sent an e-mail?’ Or, ‘What did you do yesterday at noon?’”

Yao and her students have been testing how resistant these activity questions are to “attack,” – computer security lingo for when an intruder answers them correctly and gains access to personal information such as e-mails or to do online shopping or banking.

Early studies suggest that questions about recent activities are easy for legitimate users to answer but harder for potential intruders to find or guess, Yao said.

“We want the question to be dynamic,” she said. “The questions you get today will be different from the ones you would get tomorrow.”

Rutgers doctoral student Huijun Xiong and visiting undergraduate student Anitra Babic are presenting the group’s preliminary results in a workshop at this week’s Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Computer and Communications Security. Babic is a senior at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and participated in a summer research program at Rutgers.

Yao said she gave four students in her lab a list of questions related to network activities, physical activities and opinion questions, and then told them to “attack” each other.

"We found that questions related to time are more robust than others. Many guessed the answer to the question, ‘Who was the last person you sent e-mail to?’ But fewer were able to guess, ‘What time did you send your last e-mail?’”

Yao explains that it should not be difficult for an online service provider to formulate these kinds of security questions by looking at its users’ e-mail, calendar activities or previous transactions. Computers would have use natural language processing tools to synthesize understandable questions and analyze the answers for accuracy.

Yao is proposing further studies to determine the practicality of the new approach and the best way to implement it.

Yao’s work is funded in part by grants from the National Science Foundation.

Carl Blesch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rutgers.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Information integration and artificial intelligence for better diagnosis and therapy decisions
24.05.2017 | Fraunhofer MEVIS - Institut für Bildgestützte Medizin

nachricht World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world
18.05.2017 | RMIT University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>