Can I Borrow Your ATM? Using Virtual Reality for (Simulated) In Situ Authentication Research

Florian Mathis, Kami E Vaniea, Mohamed Khamis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In situ evaluations of novel authentication systems, where the system is evaluated in its intended usage context, are often infeasible due to ethical and legal constraints.
Consequently, researchers evaluate their authentication systems in the lab, which questions the ecological validity. In this work, we explore how VR can overcome the shortcomings of authentication studies conducted in the lab and contribute towards more realistic authentication research. We built a highly realistic automated teller machine (ATM) and a VR replica to investigate through a user study (N=20) the impact of in situ evaluations on an authentication system's usability results. We evaluated and compared: Lab studies in the real world, lab studies in VR, in situ studies in the real world, and in situ studies in VR. Our findings highlight 1) VR`s great potential to circumvent potential restrictions researchers experience when evaluating authentication schemes and 2) the impact of the context on an authentication system`s usability evaluation results. In situ ATM authentications took longer (+24.71% in the real world, +14.17% in VR) than authentications in a traditional (VR) lab environment and elicited a higher sense of being part of an ATM authentication scenario %in both the real world
compared to a real-world and VR-based evaluation in the lab. Our quantitative findings, along with participants` qualitative feedback, provide first evidence of increased authentication realism when using VR for in situ authentication research. We provide researchers with a novel research approach to conduct (simulated) in situ authentication research, discuss our findings in the light of prior works, and conclude with three key lessons to support researchers in deciding when to use VR for in situ authentication research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2022 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces - VR 2022
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-9617-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-9618-6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2022
EventIEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR) - Virtual Conference
Duration: 12 Mar 202216 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameIEEE Annual International Symposium Virtual Reality
ISSN (Print)2642-5246
ISSN (Electronic)2642-5254


ConferenceIEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR)
Abbreviated titleIEEE VR 2022
Internet address


  • Virtual Reality
  • Authentication
  • In Situ Research


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  • PETRAS 2

    Luger, E. & Speed, C.



    Project: Research

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