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Stop to Unlock - Improving the Security of Android Unlock Patterns

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-11-29, 18:10 authored by Alexander Suchan, Emanuel von Zezschwitz, Katharina KrombholzKatharina Krombholz
Android unlock patterns are among the most common authentication mechanisms on mobile devices. They are fast and easy to use but also lack security as user-chosen gestures are easy to guess and easy to observe. To improve the traditional pattern approach, we propose Stop2Unlock, a usable but more secure modification of the traditional pattern lock. Stop2Unlock allows users to define nodes where they stop for a limited amount of time before swiping to the next node. We performed a lab study (n=40) and a field study (n=14) to show that this small change in user interaction can have a significant impact on security with a minimal impact on usability. That is, user-selected Stop2Unlock patterns are significantly harder to guess while being comparable in terms of usability. Additional analysis showed that users perceived the stop component as a rhythmic and memorable cue which supported the selection of higher entropy patterns.


Preferred Citation

Alexander Suchan, Zezschwitz von and Katharina Krombholz. Stop to Unlock - Improving the Security of Android Unlock Patterns. In: Usable Security and Privacy (NDSS Workshop) (USEC). 2019.

Primary Research Area

  • Empirical and Behavioral Security

Name of Conference

Usable Security and Privacy (NDSS Workshop) (USEC)

Legacy Posted Date


Open Access Type

  • Unknown


@inproceedings{cispa_all_2806, title = "Stop to Unlock - Improving the Security of Android Unlock Patterns", author = "Suchan, Alexander and von Zezschwitz, Emanuel and Krombholz, Katharina", booktitle="{Usable Security and Privacy (NDSS Workshop) (USEC)}", year="2019", }

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