February 16, 2016 7:21 pm

This is a project I did during the Spring of 2015 as an independent study with Dr. Ravi Kuber at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in association with the U.S. Navy.

H4PLock, pronounced /Hap-Lock/, is an alternative authentication method on mobile devices. Fearing the threat of shoulder surfers stealing 4-digit pin codes, and visible pattern locks on Android devices, H4PLock uses a combination of invisible user-generated on-screen gestures to authenticate a user’s identity with haptic feedback that can be delivered securely to the user. 

I lead that project single-handedly from inception to data analysis. Starting with the design of the interface, writing the code for an Android native application, designing the user study, creating video examples of the app in-use so users can attempt to simulate an attack to steal the passcode. I designed entrance and exit interviews, and follow-up surveys. I conducted the study with 17 participants, and published the results in the form of an academic paper at the iConference.

Below is a video of how the app functions

I Also, came up with the name H4PLock. The first part comes from “Hap”tic, because the phone vibrations are the primary method of feedback the system gives. “Lock” comes from the purpose of the system, a locking mechanism, and the number “4” replaced the a in haptic because the interface of the system divides the screen of the devices into 4 areas where a user can input a gesture. Plus, the user needs to enter a combination of 4 gestures to unlock the phone.


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