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A preliminary investigation of distributed and cooperative user authentication
Hocking C, Furnell SM, Clarke NL, Reynolds PL
Proceedings of the 9th Australian Information Security Management Conference (secAU 2011), Perth, Australia, 5-7 December, 2011

Smartphones and other highly mobile yet sophisticated technologies are rapidly spreading through society and increasingly finding their way into pockets and handbags. As reliance upon these intensifies and familiarity grows, human nature dictates that more and more personal details and information is now to be found upon such devices. The need to secure and protect this valuable and desirable information is becoming ever more prevalent. Building upon previous work which proposed a novel approach to user authentication, an Authentication Aura, this paper investigates the latent security potential contained in surrounding devices in everyday life. An experiment has been undertaken to ascertain the technological infrastructure, devices and inert objects that surround individuals to establish if these items might be significant. The results suggest that inert possessions may offer a surprisingly large potential with some being in close proximity to experimental subjects for over 45% of the entire period. With other graphical analysis illustrating the consistency of presence, this work suggests that everyday possessions and devices can be leveraged to augment traditional approaches and even in certain circumstances, during device activation remove the need to authenticate.

Hocking C, Furnell SM, Clarke NL, Reynolds PL