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Carleton Student Awarded Best Paper on 'Usable Security'

[Editor's note: This article has been modified from its original post. We originally reported that the winning paper came from Carnegie Mellon University. It was, in fact, from Carleton University. We apologize for the error. --D. Nagel]

Sonia Chiasson, a Ph.D. student in computer science at the Human Oriented Technology Lab (HOT Lab) at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, was awarded the prize for best paper at the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS) at CMU.

The SOUPS symposium is considered main venue for research work on human-computer interaction for computer security.

Chiasson's paper, supervised by faculty members Robert Biddle, Ottawa-Carleton and  P.C. van Oorschot, both of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Computer Science, was titled, "A Second Look at the Usability of Click-Based Graphical Passwords."

The researchers found that the use of click-based graphical passwords, which involve clicking a set of user-selected points, are not a proven superior alternative to text-based passwords. In two user studies, a lab study and a first-ever field study of click-based passwords, Chiasson found that "significant differences in the usability results of the two studies, providing empirical evidence that relying solely on lab studies for security interfaces, can be problematic."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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