A Gamified Approach to Improve Users’ Memorability of Fall-back Authentication


Nicholas Micallef and Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage, Australian Centre for Cyber Security, University of New South Wales


Security questions are one of the techniques used in fall-back authentication to retrieve forgotten passwords. This paper proposes a game design which aims to improve usability of system-generated security questions. In our game design, we adapted the popular picture-based "4 Pics 1 word" mobile game. This game asks users to pick the word that relates the given pictures. We selected this game because of its use of pictures and cues, in which, psychology research has found to be important to help with memorability. The proposed game design focuses on encoding information to users' longterm memory and to aide memorability by using the following memory retrieval skills: (a) graphical cues - by using images in each challenge; (b) verbal cues - by using verbal descriptions as hints; (c) spatial cues - by keeping same order of pictures; (d) interactivity - engaging nature of the game through the use of persuasive technology principles.

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@inproceedings {205704,
title = {A Gamified Approach to Improve {Users{\textquoteright}} Memorability of Fall-back Authentication},
booktitle = {Thirteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2017)},
year = {2017},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/soups2017/workshop-program/way2017/micallef},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul