Revealed: How to remember a password you don’t know

Researchers have created a system to enable people to remember a password they don’t even know. It depends on implicit learning, where you absorb new information without being aware that you’ve actually learnt anything.

| Updated on: Jul 23 2012, 19:14 IST

Researchers have created a system similar to the Guitar Hero computer game to enable people to remember a password they don't even know.

The majority of internet users' security is threatened by big data breaches or simplistic passwords easily targeted by hackers, the Daily Mail reported.

However, the elite minority who work in intelligence and security, for example, face the frightening possibility of being captured and tortured into handing over passwords.

The researchers from Stanford, Northwestern and Stanford Research Institute have created a system which depends on implicit learning, where you absorb new information without being aware that you've actually learnt anything, Extreme Tech explains.

The password is stored in a part of the brain you cannot physically access but is still in your subconscious for the right time, the website continues.

The specially created computer game, which enables users to learn their 30 letter password, is similar to the popular Guitar Hero game.

It involves six buttons - S,D, F, J, K, L - and the user must tap the corresponding key when the circle reaches the bottom, like the Guitar Hero game.

During a 45 minute training session to learn the password, the user will make approximately 4,000 keystrokes, explained Extreme Tech.

Incredibly, around 80 percent of those strokes are used to subconsciously teach the person a 30-character impenetrable password.

The random 30 letter sequence, which has no repeating characters (for example no DD or FF), is at least thousands of times more secure than the average password.

The 30 letter sequence is then played back to the user three times in a row before being repeated to them with random characters padding it out in between repeats. This pattern is repeated five times before a short pause. The entire process is then repeated six more times.

However, unlike memorising a piece of music where someone else could pick it up if they watched it being tapped out enough, this system is able to determine whether it is the genuine user by having them play various strands, with the ones they've practiced thrown in too.

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First Published Date: 23 Jul, 13:58 IST
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