Creating Strong But Memorable Passwords with Inkblots

Inkblot passwords solve most of these problems by helping users create a secure, personal password that is easy to remember. The user is presented with a sequence of random inkblots. Each should remind the user of a word — a butterfly or a pumpkin, for example. Such personalization leads to passwords with high entropy, that is, passwords that are difficult to attack by guessing, whether by knowing the target of the attack or by using a dictionary.

December 06, 2007

Inkblot Passwords is a Microsoft Research project that helps users create and remember strong passwords through a set of visual clues.

To create a password, you are a shown a random set of images – you look at each of the image, think of some associated object and them type the first and last character of that object’s name.

random strong password

For instance, if the first picture is of a black cat, you can type “bt” in the password field. You then advance to the next picture and so on to create a 20 character random and strong password.

Whenever you are asked to log in, you will be presented with the same images (inkblots) to remind you of your associations.

Though it may be tough for most of us to rely on memory for such long passwords, the research paper says that most users find the mental images they associate with the inkblots hard to forget. | Inkblot Authentication [PDF]