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A PIN-entry method resilient against shoulder surfing

: Roth, V.; Richter, K.; Freidinger, R.


Pfitzmann, B. ; Association for Computing Machinery -ACM-, Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control -SIGSAC-:
11th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS '04. Proceedings
New York: ACM Press, 2004
ISBN: 1-58113-961-6
Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) <11, 2004, Washington/D.C.>
Fraunhofer IGD ()
computer security; access control; authentication; user centered design; E-Commerce

Magnetic stripe cards are in common use for electronic payments and cash withdrawal. Reported incidents document that criminals easily pickpocket cards or skim them by swiping them through additional card readers. Personal identification numbers (PINs) are obtained by shoulder surfing, through the use of mirrors or concealed miniature cameras. Both elements, the PIN and the card, are generally sufficient to give the criminal full access to the victim's account. In this paper, we present alternative PIN entry methods to which we refer as cognitive trapdoor games. These methods make it significantly harder for a criminal to obtain PINs even if he fully observes the entire input and output of a PIN entry procedure. We also introduce the idea of probabilistic cognitive trapdoor games, which offer resilience to shoulder surfing even if the criminal records a PIN entry procedure with a camera. We studied the security as well as the usability of our methods, the results of which we also present in the paper.