A mobile single sign-on system
Master thesis 2006

Mats Byfuglien
Problem description
Project description
Research questions
Related work
The prototype
Further work

Problem description
Most users today have a large number of passwords to manage
This often results in:
The passwords are written down
Easily guessable passwords are used
One password used on multiple accounts
This reduces the security passwords provide
Secure passwords is still a good authentication mechanism
SSO proposed as a way to improve password security

Project description
Today there are no mobile SSO solutions on the market supporting automated sign-ins.
Develop a functional prototype of a mobile SSO system that handles passwords and supports automatic sign in.
A mobile phone with a Java MIDlet handles the management of usernames and passwords
Bluetooth/USB unit connected to the PC
Conduct a user test
Security analysis to find what security measures should be implemented

Research questions
1. What types of single sign-on solutions are available?
2. How secure is the Bluetooth protocol for transferring sensitive data?
3. Is it possible to implement the proposed single sign-on concept?
4. What security mechanisms need to be in place to assure the security of this system?
5. How will this SSO concept be received by the users?
6. Will this SSO concept increase the users’ security level?
Literature study
Technical feasibility study
Develop the prototype
User test
Security analysis
Adversary modeling
Other SSO solutions
A taxonomy lists 4 main categories:
Local pseudo SSO
SSO component is on the user’s computer
Proxy based pseudo SSO
The user authenticates once to the proxy and the proxy handles authentication to the services
Do not require any changes to the authentication systems
True SSO
User authenticates to Authentication Service Provider (ASP) once.
True SSO solutions are expensive and difficult to configure correctly
All systems must support the SSO solution
Local true SSO
Trused component
Proxy based true SSO

The prototype
Adversary modeling
Results from the security analysis
Four main issues were discovered:
Secure the Bluetooth channel
Secure protocol on top of Bluetooth protocol
Properly authenticate the devices
Digital certificates
Protect data stored on the mobile phone
Split data on two devices
Confirm the integrity of software packages
Digitally sign the packages
Results from the user test
28 users participated
26 rated the system above average
19 would like to use the system daily
7 did not have an opinion, 2 would not use it
24 believes the system will improve their password management
Everyone wanted a backup solution

Further work
Implement the proposed security measures
Port the code to a smaller device
Implement a backup solution
Conduct a detailed security analysis when the security measures are implemented
Conduct a large scale user test
Allow users to test the system over time
Include a largerer number of participants
It is possible to implement the SSO concept
The system was well received by the users
The system will not provide better security then other SSO solutions
Mobility and easy to use functionality (no software or drivers needed) makes the system stand out
The solution might apeal to a different group then other SSO solutions
Will increase the security level of users who manages passwords manually
Enables the user to use more secure passwords

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