Forget Passwords: How Playing Games Can Make Computers More Secure

A new security approach would let users input patterns instead of words to verify identity

By Larry Greenemeier

It seems like something out of a Robert Ludlum spy novel. Someone tries to coerce you into revealing your computer security passwords. You might be tempted to give in, but it is impossible for you to reveal your authentication credentials. You do not actually know them because they are safely buried deep within your subconscious.

Sounds a bit extreme just to make sure no one can log on to your laptop or smartphone, but a team of researchers from Stanford and Northwestern universities as well as SRI International is nonetheless experimenting at the computer-, cognitive- and neuroscience intersection to combat identity theft and shore up cyber security