Researchers put forward images as a better password

Researchers in the UK are working on a method to make your passwords more secure and tough to hack than ever. The researchers at Plymouth University believe that images and codes can prove to be a better alternative to the conventional alphanumeric passwords which are relatively a much less pain to hack. The password system is named Secure Graphical One Time password or GOTPass and is believed to be effective in protecting against hackers.

images put forward as better password

The study at Plymouth University suggests that a system using images and one-time numerical code could provide better security and an easy-to-use alternative to the multi-factor methods which may be dependent on the hardware or the software. The researchers at Center for Security Communication and Network Research (CSCAN) believe that their multi-level authentication system (GOTPass) could be very effective when it comes to the protection of personal online information like banking and purchase protection.

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The use of images and one-time numerical code will be easier for the users to remember and will be less expensive for the providers because GOTPass does not require costly hardware infrastructure to function properly. The research paper is published in the Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective which also mentions a series of test results demonstrating that out of 690 attempts to hack the GOTPass using a range of guessing and other significant target methods, only 23 attempts ended in a successful breach.

As described by a PhD scholar Hussain Alsaiari, who led the study, the vulnerability of the conventional alphanumeric passwords is well known no matter how effective they prove to be. The alternative systems out there are effective but they are either costly or have deployment issues regarding adaptability and integration with the existing systems. The GOTPass system is comparatively easy to use and implement and provides users with the assurance that their data is being held securely.

To set up the GOTPass system, the user is required to choose a unique username and draw any shape on a 4×4 unlock pattern like the one in the usual smartphones. They are then provided with four random themes from which they have to select one image having 30 in each theme.

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After the sign up, the user is prompted to log in for which he has to give the username, the 4×4 pattern lock combination and select two of the 16 images provided for a successful log in attempt. After correctly selecting two of the 16 images an eight-digit random code will be generated which the user is ultimately required to enter in the field provided to access their precious information.

The tests have shown that remembering patterns and images are relatively easier for the users and out of 690 attempts to hack only eight were successful and 15 were achieved through coincidence. Thus the system proves to be an efficient one.

The research paper regarding GOTPass published in the Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective can be found here.


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