A Comparative Study of Three Random Password Generators


Michael D. Leonhard
Department of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Chicago
V.N. Venkatakrishnan
Department of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Chicago
Member, IEEE

Abstract — This paper compares three random password generation schemes, describing and analyzing each. It also reports the results of a small study testing the quality of the passwords generated by the schemes. Qualities discussed include security, memorability, and user affinity. Improvements to the schemes and experiment are suggested.

This paper was presented at the IEEE Electro/Information Technology Conference, EIT 2007.



  author = {Michael D. Leonhard and V. N. Venkatakrishnan},
  title = {A Comparative Study of Three Random Password Generators},
  booktitle = {EIT'07: Proc. 2007 IEEE International Conference
                on Electro/Information Technology},
  year = {2007},
  isbn = {1-4244-0931-1}
  pages = {271--276}
  location = {Chicago, Illinois}
  month = may,
  url = "http://tamale.net/pub/2007/pwdgen/"

Source Code

Download all: pwdgen.src.tar.gz (24 KB)


We performed the study using two questionnaires. The paper had space for only two of the four pages, so we provide them all here: questionnaires.pdf or questionnaires.ps.gz.

We also provide the raw data obtained from the questionnaires: rawdata.csv

WordPress Plugin

Download version 0.1: pwdgen.php.gz

Version 0.1 Status: The plugin is currently under development. The user interface works well. The password generators are not yet implemented in PHP, so the plugin always assigns the same password. We are making minor improvements to the generators in preparation for our next experiment.

This plugin was developed for WordPress version 2.0.4, but it should work with more recent versions. The plugin is a single source code file, pwdgen.php. It does not require any modifications to WordPress. For installation instructions, please read WordPress: Managing Plugins.

Page updated 2007-12-29

Online articles have much greater impact.


Copyright © 1999-2012 Michael Leonhard