Kevin Macnaughton singing into computer micKevin Macnaughton, team leader for desktop and server in IT Services, croons a tune to log in to university systems.

New cybersecurity system requires users to sing for access

In a move to protect institutional and user data, the University of Windsor has launched a new cybersecurity measure: the Musical Password System (MPS). This novel approach to digital authentication requires users to sing a melody in addition to entering their password and multifactor authentication information.

Developed by Information Technology Services, the MPS aims at improving security through the use of personalized melodies, thereby making the login process not only more secure but also more enjoyable for users.

“The introduction of the Musical Password System is a significant step towards making our digital spaces more secure in an enjoyable and innovative manner,” says Marcin Pulcer, assistant vice-president, IT Services. “We believe this new system will transform the user experience, making every login more enjoyable for yourself and others near your desk.”

Considering the increasing costs associated with cybersecurity incidents, the introduction of the MPS is timely.

“Cybersecurity incidents are not only disruptive but also expensive. Initiatives like the MPS are crucial in preventing us from paying ransoms and going Baroque,” Pulcer says, highlighting the financial and cultural value of innovative security measures.

Adding a musical perspective to the discussion, music professor and choirs director Bruce Kotowich says the system beautifully marries the science of security with the art of music: “It’s fascinating to see how melodies can play a role in strengthening our digital defenses while making the process more engaging and personal for users.”

As the University of Windsor takes the lead in this unique security measure, it sets a new benchmark for institutions worldwide, showcasing the potential of integrating arts and technology to create more secure and enjoyable digital experiences.

Dr. Kotowich is offering free vocal coaching to prepare for the transition. Sign up for an in-person or online melody maker workshop.

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