Abstract Title

Username Trends in Single and Multiple User Namespaces

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

The “human factor” is generally the biggest threat to information security. Websites today often require visitors to register and login with a username and password or an email address and password. In this study, usernames on two web message boards were analyzed: the official Assassin’s Creed (PC) General Discussion message board and the official Diablo III (PC) General Discussion message board. These message boards both relate to video games but utilize different methods for managing usernames. The Assassin’s Creed message board employs a single namespace where usernames are required to be unique whereas Diablo III does not require unique usernames. The Diablo III message board creates multiple namespaces to avoid username collisions by appending a pound sign and a number (e.g., #1234) to every user’s name. From the year 2012 to 2015, the average length of the usernames and the number of usernames containing digits grew each year on the Assassin’s Creed message board. However, the average username length fluctuated and the occurrence of digits decreased each year on the Diablo III message board. These trends suggest that people prefer to use shorter and purely alphabetic usernames when given the option which could threaten information security. Future research should continue to explore the human factors in organizational security.

Keywords

Usernames, Screennames, Web Forms, Websites, Web Development, Web Design, Namespacing, Information Security

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Username Trends in Single and Multiple User Namespaces

The “human factor” is generally the biggest threat to information security. Websites today often require visitors to register and login with a username and password or an email address and password. In this study, usernames on two web message boards were analyzed: the official Assassin’s Creed (PC) General Discussion message board and the official Diablo III (PC) General Discussion message board. These message boards both relate to video games but utilize different methods for managing usernames. The Assassin’s Creed message board employs a single namespace where usernames are required to be unique whereas Diablo III does not require unique usernames. The Diablo III message board creates multiple namespaces to avoid username collisions by appending a pound sign and a number (e.g., #1234) to every user’s name. From the year 2012 to 2015, the average length of the usernames and the number of usernames containing digits grew each year on the Assassin’s Creed message board. However, the average username length fluctuated and the occurrence of digits decreased each year on the Diablo III message board. These trends suggest that people prefer to use shorter and purely alphabetic usernames when given the option which could threaten information security. Future research should continue to explore the human factors in organizational security.

Keywords

Usernames, Screennames, Web Forms, Websites, Web Development, Web Design, Namespacing, Information Security