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European Information Security Multi-Conference (EISMC 2013)
Title: Developing and Testing a Visual Hash Scheme
Author(s): Maina Olembo, Timo Kilian, Simon Stockhardt, Andreas Hülsing, Melanie Volkamer
Keywords: Visual hash, Usability, Security, Hash function
Abstract: Users find comparing long meaningless strings of alphanumeric characters difficult, yet they have to carry out this task when comparing cryptographic hash values for https and PGP keys or in the context of electronic voting. Visual hashes - where users compare images rather than strings - have been proposed as an alternative. With the visual hash schemes reported in literature people were unable to sufficiently distinguish more than 30 bits. Obviously, this does not provide adequate security against collision attacks. Our goal is to improve the situation: A visual hash scheme was developed and improved iteratively, leading to CLPS, which encodes 60 bits using Colours, Lines, Patterns and Shapes. It was evaluated in several user studies: Users attained an accuracy rate of 80% when comparing two visual hashes next to each other and this took them on average 5.6 seconds per picture representing a visual hash. CLPS was further tested in two scenarios, simulating digital certificate fingerprint comparison and verifiability in remote electronic voting. The results of this work and their implications for practical applications of visual hash schemes are discussed.
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