Prohibition 0.5

a unique authentication system for the back alleys of the internet.


Justin Donato
Current version
GitHub Issues



  • _self_/_current_: core/1.2.4: [Class, Class.Extras, Element, Element.Event, Element.Style, Selectors]

How to use

In this example, we've hard-coded a Knock Sequence and uses Prohibitions built in comparison feature.

    var knock = [0, .1, .2, .3, .4, 1];

    var door = new Prohibition('door');

    door.addEvent('doneKnocking', function(seq){

        // We use the built in 'compare' method
        // and pass in the two knocks to compare

        var authd =, seq); 
           // knock is correct: redirect, update ui, etc 

To create a knock sequence, use Prohibition in recording mode:

    var door = new Prohibition('door', {'record': true});
    door.addEvent('doneRecording', function(seq){

For an ever so slightly more secure version, you might do your authentication on the backend:

    var door = new Prohibition('door', {'record': true});
    door.addEvent('doneRecording', function(seq){

        // url goes to some service that knows how to
        // compare knocks.

        var req = new Request.JSON({
            'url': 'http://localhost:8000/',
            'method': 'get',
            'data': {'knock': JSON.encode(seq)},
            'onSuccess': function(respobj){
                // Redirect, create new UI, change state, etc...



Prohibition is a Mootools class that provides an API for doing "Secret Knock" authentication. You can use a backend service to handle validation, or (if you really don't care about security) you can use the built-in validator.

Prohibition objects have an optional record mode that you can use to generate knock sequences.

A Knock sequence is simply a javascript array with Numbers between 0 and 1 that correspond to the relative time in which the knock occurred. (For this reason, knocks sequences should be at least 3 knocks long.)

Knock sequences are normalized so the pattern can be sped up or slowed down and still be matched.

Important: It should go without saying--If security is a scale from 0 to 10, Prohibition offers about a 1. Don't use this for anything you really want protected.


delay: Time in milliseconds from last knock until validation occurs. You want this to be long enough so the user doesn't get cut off, but short enough so that validation takes place shortly after the user is done.

mousedownClass: Class that's applied to your door when the user presses the mousedown.

record: Places the object into record mode. In record mode, after knocking, the object will fire a 'doneRecording' event and pass the knock along. Normally you'd only use this to serialize a knock pattern.


Prohibition fires several events that your code can listen for. Use these to update the UI, provide audible feedback, etc.

knock: Fired whenever the user clicks on the 'door'. You can use this to provie ui feedback, play a sound, etc.

doneKnocking: Fired when a user has knocked on a door and the delay has passed.

doneRecording: Fired when Prohibition is in 'record' mode and the user has finished recording her knock.

Validating Knocks On The Server

Prohibition's compare method is an example of one way to do validation. Its simple enough that by using it as a reference anyone should be able to implement in the language of her choice, but there are other more clever ways to do knock matching, so feel free to roll your own.

A Django version of this might be:

    def compare(knockone, knocktwo, threshold=.04, allowed_errors=0):
        if not len(knock) is len(reference_knock): return False

        errors = 0
        knocks = zip(knockone, knocktwo)
        for knock in knocks:
            sub, ref = knock
            diff = abs(sub, ref)
            if(diff > threshold):
                errors += 1
        return errors < allowed_errors

    def compare(request, threshold=.04, allowed_errors=0):
        # Maybe we pass along a username so we can actually authenticate a user
        username = request.GET.get('username')
        knockstr = request.GET.get('knock')
        knock = json.loads(knockstr)

        # The knock could come from the DB, settings, hard-coded, etc
        # it would just be a list of floats between 0 and 1
        reference_knock = settings.PROHIBITION_KNOCK

        auth = compare(knock, reference_knock)
        if auth: 
            # Here you could get a user by that name and set her
            # to logged in, 
            # return ...
            # Make up your own little protocol to handle auth/unauth
            # responses
            fail = {'status': 0, 'msg': 'Unauthorized!'}
            return HttpResponse(json.dump(fail))


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