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Whither Challenge Question Authentication?

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Questions such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?” and “What was your first pet’s name?” are commonly used today to authenticate users, often in support of account recovery when a password is forgotten. Despite their ubiquity, there exists very little published research as to their efficacy. Some recent, high profile compromises suggest that they are not sufficiently secure. Recent research seems to point to a similar conclusion. In this talk, I’ll examine some of the recent research into the security and usability of challenge question authentication, and discuss whether it remains a viable option for user authentication.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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