Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Analytics

New Memory Method Lets Users Remember Long Passwords -- Subconsciously

'Implicit learning' lets users store a 30-character password in their memories -- without remembering it

Remembering passwords is the biggest bane of security for most users. But what if you could learn a long password and remember it subconsciously, like you remember how to ride a bike?

According to a report about subconscious passwords in the publication Extreme Tech, a group of neuroscientists and cryptographers have developed a password system that does just that.

"The system, devised by Hristo Bojinov of Stanford University and friends from Northwestern and SRI, relies on implicit learning, a process by which you absorb new information — but you’re completely unaware that you’ve actually learnt anything," the report states. "In short, the system teaches the password to a part of your brain that you cannot physically access — but it is still there in your subconscious, just waiting to be tapped.

"The process of learning the password involves the use of a specially crafted computer game that, funnily enough, resembles Guitar Hero," the report states. "There are six buttons — S, D, F, J, K, L — and the user has to hit the corresponding key (note) when the circle reaches the bottom (fret). During a typical training session of around 45 minutes, a user will make about 4,000 keystrokes — and here’s the genius bit: Around 80 percent of those keystrokes are being used to subconsciously teach you a 30-character password."

Once the user has completed the training, future authentication is done by playing the game again -- the user is authenticated if he or she performs reliably better on his or her sequence than on other random sequences presented during the game, the report says.

"The most important aspect of this work is that it [seemingly] establishes a new cryptographic primitive that completely removes the danger of rubber-hose cryptanalysis — i.e. obtaining passkeys via torture or coercion," the report states. "It also gives you deniability: If a judge or policeman orders you to hand over your password, you can plausibly say that you don’t actually know it."

Bojinov will present his findings at the Usenix Security Symposium in August.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Take me to your BISO 
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-23369
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
In YzmCMS 5.6, XSS was discovered in member/member_content/init.html via the SRC attribute of an IFRAME element because of using UEditor 1.4.3.3.
CVE-2020-23370
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
In YzmCMS 5.6, stored XSS exists via the common/static/plugin/ueditor/1.4.3.3/php/controller.php action parameter, which allows remote attackers to upload a swf file. The swf file can be injected with arbitrary web script or HTML.
CVE-2020-23371
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in static/admin/js/kindeditor/plugins/multiimage/images/swfupload.swf in noneCms v1.3.0 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the movieName parameter.
CVE-2020-23373
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/nav/add.html in noneCMS v1.3.0 allows remote authenticated attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the name parameter.
CVE-2020-23374
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-10
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/article/add.html in noneCMS v1.3.0 allows remote authenticated attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the name parameter.