Researchers develop ‘narrative authentication’ system


Researchers have developed a ‘narrative authentication’ system that could put an end to the need of remembering complex passwords to logging onto computer systems.

The new system has been developed by Carson Brown and his colleagues over at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. The main idea behind the system is to log a user’s activities on the system or any other device that he / she may be using and then ask questions about them as and when a user wants to logon to the system next time.

The ‘narrative authentication’ system involves the use of logging software running in the background on a computer or smartphone. This software will log activities such as how long did you play a particular game or what game did you play or when did you stop playing the game. The software may also log activities on your social networks and check-ins that you would have made.

Users can interact with the logging software and add their own events in the real world like wedding dates, holidays, travel dates, etc.

Brown said that once the system is setup and enough data is fed, the system will ask questions based on records.

This does raise concerns about the authentication system’s security and the privacy of users. What if the authentication system was itself a target of the hack? What if someone else managed to gain access to the logging data? Let us know your views in the comments section.

[Source: New Scientist]

  • Donald Kingsley

    Cool idea, but I don’t think it will be that practical. Malware would
    either be installed to gather the required data or a person could simply
    dump the activity logs and use that to provide the answers. I don’t like the idea of it leaving trails about yourself and gathering data about you, even if your account wasn’t compromised someone could use the data for cyber stalking and other activities. I could just imagine it asking questions like how long did you watch porn. It would also be easy to get locked out of your devices if a friend was to use it.

  • A I

    Hate to break up Carson Brown’s circle-jerk, but I want to log in to my computer now, not play 20 questions with spyware for 5 minutes.

  • Titanium_Falcon

    So, the computer’s gonna test us to see if we’re worthy to boot up? F U, machine. I bought you, I own you. I ask the questions. Supposing a user doesn’t quite have the memory capacity of a computer or is unable to remember the name of the movie they watched, or game they played, or park they visited? Not all users are so mentally agile.