By Alex Wilson, May 6, 2021
WARRENSBURG, MO – In today’s digital world, as the interactions between computers and human beings become a fundamental part of peoples’ day-to-day lives, the need for security increases. Whether you are logging in to your bank account or checking your social media feed, passwords are the essential tool for accessing your personal information. While the compromise between a secure password and a memorable password continues to be a struggle for many individuals, University of Central Missouri faculty member Dr. Taiabul Haque and his colleagues are seeking to address this issue through the LociMotion project.
Their efforts have resulted in presentation opportunities in May and recognition for a research paper in which they collaborated to design and evaluate a training interface titled LociMotion. The purpose of LociMotion and the collaborative research paper is to help users better memorize system-assigned, long, random passwords. The interface focuses on consolidating declarative and procedural memory by having participants watch a video clip related to their passwords followed by having the participants play a computer game. The recall success rate of 300 participants was then recorded and compared to a control situation. A second study was also conducted.
The study was undertaken by Haque, assistant professor of computer science and cybersecurity at UCM, and Rajesh Setty, a UCM alumnus and former graduate student who was working on his thesis, alongside two external collaborators at other institutions, Jayesh Doolani and Matthew Wright. They have received Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (ACM SIGCHI) Honorable Mention award for their work on the LociMotion project.
Haque and Setty will present their research May 11-12 at the CHI 2021 Virtual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The conference, which involves participants from all over the globe, is planned for May 8-13.
“I am glad [that we received this award]. Work on this project spreads across years,” Haque said. “The initial idea for this was actually a part of my dissertation when I did my Ph.D. This is a really good achievement even for top research school students.”
Haque and Setty’s research paper submitted to ACM SIGCHI is titled, “LociMotion: Towards Learning a Strong Authentication Secret in a Single Session.,” It received an Honorable Mention as one of the top 5% of the papers submitted from nearly 3,000 research works.
Years in the making, LociMotion is about designing a solution to remembering randomly generated passwords. LociMotion derives its namesake from the method of loci, a method of memorizing information by placing each memory on an imaginary point on an imaginary road or journey. This method of memorization was an essential influence for the project, as users of LociMotion must use Loci to memorize their password before playing the computer game.
“We have two parts to this study. In part one we are leveraging declarative memory, and in part two we are leveraging procedural memory.” Haque said “If you have watched the ‘Sherlock’ TV show, this is where this idea comes from, where Sherlock uses what we call a ‘mind palace.’ It is the same strategy memory champions use. The idea is taken from cognitive psychology, this method of loci. This is what we leverage through our interface, a virtual apartment with objects [placed on a route] representing a letter of the password.”
LociMotion has already proven to be a great success as most participants, found via
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, were able to fully memorize their randomly assigned password
in only one session with the interface. On the average, one 15-to-20-minute session
was all that it took for participants to memorize their password indefinitely, according
Cybersecurity is a growing concern as the more individuals rely upon technology, the more susceptible their equipment is to viruses, hacks and data breaches. Password protection is one of the most underestimated forms of security and digital protection available to the general public. A secure password is an essential part of using computers and LociMotion is the next step to building and memorizing the gateway between individuals’ personal and private information.
About ACM SIGCHI
The Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction is a subsidiary of the Association for Computer Machinery focusing on the way individuals interact with modern technologies. SIGCHI hosts the Annual ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (typically referred to as CHI). CHI is one of the most prestigious conferences on Human-Computer Interaction which showcases the world’s top experts in this field.