Cognitive passwords: The key to easy access control

Moshe Zviran*, William J. Haga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


This paper suggests the use of cognitive passwords as a method of overcoming the difficulty of creating passwords that are simultaneously memorable and difficult to guess. Cognitive passwords involve a dialogue between a user and a system, where a user answers a rotating set of questions about highly personal facts and opinions. A set of such brief responses replace a single password. The findings of this empirical investigation, focusing on memorability and ease-of-guessing of cognitive passwords, are reported. These findings show that cognitive passwords were easier to recall than conventional passwords, while they were difficult for others to guess, even others who were socially close to the users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-736
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Security
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Authentication
  • Cognitive passwords
  • Passwords
  • User identification


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