Continuous authentication using creative writing

Md Shafaeat Hossain, Carl Haberfeld, Kate Yuan, Jundong Chen, Khandaker Abir Rahman, Ishtiaque Hussain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Traditional keyboards remain the input device of choice for typing-heavy environments. When attached to sensitive data, security is a major concern. To continuously authenticate users in these environments, use of keystroke dynamics can be a preferred choice. An integral part of user enrollment in a keystroke based continuous authentication system is the writing instruction (prompt) given to the users, to use as a basis for their improvised writing. There are many prompts possible, and they directly impact the performance of authentication systems. Hence, prompts should be designed carefully, and with purpose. In this paper, we bridge the gap between cognitive psychology and computer science and attempt to influence the mental state of the users to acquire a better authentication performance. We compare two kinds of writing prompts, creative and factual, for generating reference samples. In addition, we perform two robustness tests: robustness to dissimilar writing style (e.g., creative reference and factual test) and robustness to surface (e.g., hard surface reference and soft surface test). We collect data from thirty participants in four weekly sessions. We experiment with three features: key interval, key press, and key hold latencies. We use Relative (R) measure to generate the match score between the reference and test samples. Results show that creative writing consistently performs better than the factual one. Both writing prompts perform well with dissimilar style in testing, i.e., continuous authentication is found robust to writing style. Also, we find that the surface (hard or soft) used in testing need not match that used for the reference, thus continuous authentication is also surface robust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 International Symposium on Networks, Computers and Communications, ISNCC 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728156286
StatePublished - Oct 20 2020
Event2020 International Symposium on Networks, Computers and Communications, ISNCC 2020 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Oct 20 2020Oct 22 2020

Publication series

Name2020 International Symposium on Networks, Computers and Communications, ISNCC 2020


Conference2020 International Symposium on Networks, Computers and Communications, ISNCC 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Control and Optimization


Dive into the research topics of 'Continuous authentication using creative writing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this