Tap-based user authentication for smartwatches

Toan Nguyen, Nasir Memon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents TapMeIn, an eyes-free, two-factor authentication method for smartwatches. It allows users to tap a memorable melody (tap-password) of their choice anywhere on the touchscreen to unlock their watch. A user is verified based on the tap-password as well as her physiological and behavioral characteristics when tapping. Results from preliminary experiments with 41 participants show that TapMeIn could achieve an accuracy of 98.7% with a False Positive Rate of only 0.98%. In addition, TapMeIn retains its performance in different conditions such as sitting and walking. In terms of speed, TapMeIn has an average authentication time of 2 s. A user study with the System Usability Scale (SUS) tool suggests that TapMeIn has a high usability score.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-186
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Security
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Biometrics
  • Rhythm-based authentication
  • Shoulder surfing
  • Smartwatch
  • Tap-based authentication
  • Usable security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Law


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