Mobile devices, in the form of smartphones and tablet computers, are going through an amazing growth cycle. The devices are powerful and robust enough to house an incredible amount of sensitive data about our personal and business lives. These devices, however, have relatively weak authentication systems, generally consisting of a pin number or pattern matching challenge. In addition to the weak authentication systems, the input mechanism of using a finger on a touchscreen leaves a residue trail that can be easily recovered, allowing an attacker to recover some or all of the authentication code. This thesis examines the strengths and weaknesses of the authentication systems available on iOS and Android systems. It then looks for alternative improved solutions by examining the array of sensor technologies on current mobile devices. Three improved solutions are presented, including a dynamic touchscreen pattern that removes the ability for a smudge attack, a forced rotation authentication screen that obfuscates input patterns, and a GPS enabled system that reduces authentication requirements when in a designated "safe zone".
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Mobile computing--Security measures; Digital signatures
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Pinch, Michael, "Improving security and usability of mobile device authentication mechanisms" (2012). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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