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Development of a Scale to Assess the Linguistic and Phonological Difficulty of Passwords

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 8528)


Institutions often require or recommend that their employees use secure, system-generated passwords. It is not clear how well linguistic and phonological language properties map onto complex, randomly-generated passwords. Passwords containing a mix of letters, numbers, and other symbol characters may or may not be similar to common patterns in spoken or written English. The Linguistic Phonological Difficulty (LPD) scoring rubric was created by considering the extent to which a string of characters in a password resembles ordinary spoken or written language patterns. LPD is a score calculated through a six-rule process that considers these spoken and written patterns of English as well as memory load. These rules can be applied to any password. Our research explores mapping linguistic and phonological language properties onto complex randomly generated passwords to assess behavioral performance.


  • passwords
  • memorability
  • linguistics
  • phonology

The rights of this work are transferred to the extent transferable according to title 17 U.S.C. 105.


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Bergstrom, J.R. et al. (2014). Development of a Scale to Assess the Linguistic and Phonological Difficulty of Passwords. In: Rau, P.L.P. (eds) Cross-Cultural Design. CCD 2014. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8528. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-07307-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-07308-8

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