As the fast growth of multimedia information, the security of multimedia systems is becoming a rather important topic nowadays. Multimedia systems are often suffering attacks when users access the information and online services. Because of the excellent features of the biometric, many biometric-based three-factor remote user authentication schemes have been proposed to provide high level of security for different network-based application systems. Recently, An pointed out the weaknesses of Das's three-factor remote user authentication scheme and proposed an improved biometric-based three-factor remote user authentication scheme. An's scheme improves the security problems of previous schemes while keeping the efficiency. However, after detailed analysis, we find that An's scheme exists some weaknesses such as vulnerable to denial-of-service attack and forgery attack, cannot detect unauthorized login quickly, and does not provide session key agreement. In order to provide high level of security for multimedia systems, we design a robust three-factor remote user authentication scheme with key agreement using elliptic curve cryptosystem. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.