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Re: Image, word, and password login
From: Karl Bernard <karl.bernard () GMAIL COM>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2013 14:36:36 -0600

A colleague mentioned this thread to me and I'm a consumer of this same
technology (site authentication) at a couple of financial sites. Until
today, I'd always thought it was pretty cool until I was trying to find
the official name for this kind of thing and found some less than
stellar articles and studies about using them:

Karl Bernard
UTHealth, Academic Health Center at Houston

On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 1:18 PM, Joel L. Rosenblatt <joel () columbia edu>wrote:


I have an account at a vendor that uses a system like this - I picked
a picture and a word, and when you enter your account (before your
password) it takes you to a page that displays the picture and word
and prompts for the password

It makes the login a 2 screen affair, which may bother some of your
users who think that everything has to be done in subsecond time.

Our web login to our mail system displays

Greetings, Joel Rosenblatt (or your own name :-)

after you type in your account, but before you type in your password -
similar idea, but less pages and it doesn't require the user to do
anything except recognize their name :-)

Good luck!

Joel Rosenblatt, Director Network & Computer Security
Columbia Information Security Office (CISO)
Columbia University, 612 W 115th Street, NY, NY 10025 / 212 854 3033<%20212%20854%203033>
Public PGP key

On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 2:08 PM, Derek Diget
<derek.diget+educause-security () wmich edu> wrote:
We are thinking about creating a login process where user's pick a
and/or word before getting a password entry box.[1]  The main driver is
prevent phishers from copying our "static" login pages.

The process would go something like....

0) Training, Training, Training...and other carbon based life form user
issues...... :)

1) User gets to our login page
2) User enters login ID
3) login process retrieves user's picture and word choice
4) login process displays user's picture with 8 (or 11) others randomly
5) User selects their picture
6) If correct, login process displays user's word with 8 (or 11) others
7) If correct, login process give user a password text box to finish

(Yes, a phisher could duplicate the pictures and words and disregard what
the user picks...so the user would always get to the password box, but
current thoughts is that it would take to much "work" for them to
this new login process and there are other easier fish in the sea to

I have two questions to the group....

1) Is there an industry term for this type of authentication process? (It
kind of is two-factor, but we want to avoid using that term as most
think of two-factor having a physical component...token card, key fob,
phone, etc).

2) Does anyone know of any research on a multi-step authentication
like this?  Be it usability issues, increased security, etc.

Note 1: We vet the user.  As part of the process of setting a password,
also pick a picture out of ~12 (with a library of 100+) choices and store
their choice.  They then pick a word out of ~12 (with a library of 100
or so
words) and store their choice.  Then they finish setting a password.

Derek Diget                            Office of Information Technology
Western Michigan University - Kalamazoo  Michigan  USA - www.wmich.edu/

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