Hugh Pickens writes "People possess a remarkable ability for recalling pictures and researchers at Newcastle University are exploiting this characteristic to create graphical passwords that they say are a thousand times more secure than ordinary textual passwords. With Draw a Secret (DAS) technology, users draw an image over a background, which is then encoded as an ordered sequence of cells. The software recalls the strokes, along with the number of times the pen is lifted. If a person chooses a flower background and then draws a butterfly as their secret password image onto it, they have to remember where they began on the grid and the order of their pen strokes. The "passpicture" is recognized as identical if the encoding is the same, not the drawing itself, which allows for some margin of error as the drawing does not have to be re-created exactly. The software has been initially designed for handheld devices such as iPhones, Blackberry and Smartphone, but could soon be expanded to other areas. "The most exciting feature is that a simple enhancement simultaneously provides significantly enhanced usability and security," says computer scientist Jeff Yan."
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