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User Authentication is the process of determining whether a user should be authorized to access to a particular system or resource. Alphanumeric passwords are most common mechanism for authorizing computer users, even though it is well known that users generally choose passwords that are vulnerable to dictionary attacks, brute force attack and guessing attacks. Until recent years, the security problem has been formulated as a scientific problem. However, it is now extensively accepted that security is also a human computer interaction (HCI) problem. Most security mechanisms cannot be effective without taking into account, the user. HCI matters in two ways. One is the usability of the security systems themselves and another is the interaction of the security systems with user practices and motivations. We have studied the usability of alphanumeric passwords, and found that they are more difficult for people to remember and the consequence is that one has to write them down. We have discussed the usability versus security tradeoffs and found different inherent weaknesses in alphanumeric passwords. We have also discussed the alternative solutions those can be used instead of alphanumeric password.

Naveen Kumar

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