Mobile Device User Authentication
without Traditional Passcode


With the rich set of sensors available on newer smartphones, there is an opportunity for users to maintain security on their smartphone but have the convenience of not entering a passcode. This is a new area which phone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung are promoting. Sensors include fingerprint on the Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5 and Near Field Communication. Other sensors available on smartphones can also be used to get unique behavioral and physiological characteristics of the legitimate user.

However, recent Pace surveys done through the Capstone project have shown that users are not familiar with these new methods of user authentication and are skeptical of the strength of security using those methods, especially related to location data, Near Field Communication, and Beacons or Geofencing. A use for this would be having the phone unlock when it is near an NFC tag or in a certain GPS location.

See the technical papers of earlier projects completed fall 2014 [1] and spring 2015 [2].

Project Description

For this project, the team will chose new areas for user authentication, for example fingerprint and NFC, research the literature and products describing these and develop a detailed description of their operation. Then the team will conduct a hands-on user study which will include

Project Deliverables


  1. Developing a User Identification Mechanism for Secure Mobile Phone Access Replacing the Tedious Username/Password, Javier Castillo, Ashley Haigler, Sara Siddiqui, Mychal Wilson, Leigh Anne Clevenger, and Charles C. Tappert, Proc. Research Day Conference, Seidenberg School of CSIS, Pace University, 2015.
  2. Design and User Acceptability Testing of Secure Mobile Phone Authentication Mechanism Based on Fingerprint Sensing and Geofencing, Sara Siddiqui, Nitish Nandkumar Pisal, Nikhita Gopidi, Nishant Maheshbhai Patel, Tanya Sahin, Shreyansh Shah, Leigh Anne Clevenger, Javid Maghsoudi, John V. Monaco, and Charles C. Tappert, Proc. Research Day Conference, Seidenberg School of CSIS, Pace University, 2015.