Visible to the public CAREER: Enhancing Mobile Authentication by Measuring the Authentication Life-CycleConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details

Lead PI

Performance Period

Oct 01, 2019 - Sep 30, 2024


George Washington University


National Science Foundation

Award Number

This CAREER research focuses on human factors in authentication using mobile devices. Mobile authentication is a crucial component of authentication, especially as mobile devices become ever more connected to the broader security ecosystem. A major concern is how users authenticate as they use their devices over months or years. This research will involve empirical studies of the choices and actions users take over time. Qualitative and quantitative measures will be employed to better understand user mental models, perceptions, and behaviors related to mobile authentication. The overall goal is to understand the life-cycle of authentication on mobile devices. The outcomes of this work will drive the design and implementation of mobile authentication, and policies surrounding mobile authentication. The research will help to mitigate or prevent security attacks on mobile devices, and lead to better security and privacy of data in mobile devices.

Empirical measurements and improvements to mobile authentication have the potential to provide significant intellectual impact and lay the ground work for transformative technologies that improve the way we choose and use authenticators on our mobile devices. This project will accomplish that in two key ways. First, the research makes contributions to the study of user behavior as it unfolds over time, and how that behavior is affected by device use, context, and perceptions. Second, measures of life-cycle events in mobile authentication will be used to understand how behavior shifts over time. The research will also expand the typically-tested populations of students and online users to understand how other user populations, such as older adults, approach authentication and may require different solutions or interventions. The outcome of this work will fill important knowledge gaps regarding the upgrade cycle of mobile devices and our understanding of mobile authentication selection, leading to the design of new policies, procedures, and systems for mobile authentication. Students will be involved at all stages of the research.