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"`They brought in the horrible key ring thing!" Analysing the Usability of Two-Factor Authentication in UK Online Banking

Krol, K; Philippou, E; Cristofaro, ED; Sasse, MA; (2015) "`They brought in the horrible key ring thing!" Analysing the Usability of Two-Factor Authentication in UK Online Banking. In: The 2015 Network and Distributed System Security (NDSS) Symposium: USEC Workshop. The Internet Society: Reston, US. Green open access

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Abstract

To prevent password breaches and guessing attacks, banks increasingly turn to two-factor authentication (2FA), requiring users to present at least one more factor, such as a one-time password generated by a hardware token or received via SMS, besides a password. We can expect some solutions -- especially those adding a token -- to create extra work for users, but little research has investigated usability, user acceptance, and perceived security of deployed 2FA. This paper presents an in-depth study of 2FA usability with 21 UK online banking customers, 16 of whom had accounts with more than one bank. We collected a rich set of qualitative and quantitative data through two rounds of semi-structured interviews, and an authentication diary over an average of 11 days. Our participants reported a wide range of usability issues, especially with the use of hardware tokens, showing that the mental and physical workload involved shapes how they use online banking. Key targets for improvements are (i) the reduction in the number of authentication steps, and (ii) removing features that do not add any security but negatively affect the user experience.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: "`They brought in the horrible key ring thing!" Analysing the Usability of Two-Factor Authentication in UK Online Banking
Event: NDSS Workshop on Usable Security 2015
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14722/usec.2015.23001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.14722/usec.2015.23001
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1461425
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