Using a personal device to strengthen password authentication from an untrusted computer
Keylogging and phishing attacks can extract user identity and sensitive account information for unauthorized access to users' financial accounts. Most existing or proposed solutions are vulnerable to session hijacking attacks. We propose a simple approach to counter these attacks, which cryptographically separates a user's long-term secret input from (typically untrusted) client PCs; a client PC performs most computations but has access only to temporary secrets. The user's long-term secret (typically short and low-entropy) is input through an independent personal trusted device such as a cellphone. The personal device provides a user's long-term secrets to a client PC only after encrypting the secrets using a pre-installed, "correct" public key of a remote service (the intended recipient of the secrets). The proposed protocol (MP-Auth) realizes such an approach, and is intended to safeguard passwords from keyloggers, other malware (including rootkits), phishing attacks and pharming, as well as to provide transaction security to foil session hijacking. We report on a prototype implementation of MP-Auth, and provide a comparison of web authentication techniques that use an additional factor of authentication (e.g. a cellphone, PDA or hardware token).
Mannan, M. (Mohammad), & Van Oorschot, P. (2007). Using a personal device to strengthen password authentication from an untrusted computer.