Usable Security – Results from a Field Study

  • 1 University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany
  • 2 HK Business Solutions GmbH, Sulzbach/Saar, Germany
Luigi Lo Iacono
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  • Luigi Lo Iacono studied computer science with a major in systems and security engineering and received the PhD degree from the University of Siegen (Germany) in 2005. He has previously worked in academic and industry research labs including Siemens Corporate Technology and NEC Laboratories Europe and is currently a full professor at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Germany. His research interests are focused on the security of distributed systems and the usability of those security mechanisms.
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, Hoai Viet Nguyen
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  • Hoai Viet Nguyen received his Master of Science in Media Technology at University of Applied Science, Cologne, Germany. Since 2013, he has been a Research Assistant at the Data and Application Security Group of the University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany. His research interests include Service Security and usable security.
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and Hartmut Schmitt
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  • Hartmut Schmitt is a research project coordinator at HK Business Solutions GmbH (Sulzbach/Saar, Germany), a provider of business software and hardware solutions for SMEs. Since 2006 he has been working on research projects in the fields of human-computer interaction, usability, user experience, and requirements engineering, including project supervision for several joint projects. At present, he is leading and participating in the research project “USecureD – Usable Security by Design”.
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Security has evolved into an essential quality factor of software systems. However, security features in software applications are often time-consuming, error-prone and too complicated for common users. This is mainly due to a limited consideration and integration of usability. As a consequence, users either circumvent security features or do not utilize them at all. Usable security is an advanced quality topic and an important research area of software systems. This area combines usability and security with the objective of making the use of security features in software effective, efficient and satisfying. In order to meet this challenge, the research project USecureD aims at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in facilitating the selection and incorporation of usable security by developing, evaluating and collecting principles, guidelines, patterns and tools for merging usability and security engineering. During the initiation phase of the USecureD project, an online study (N = 118) in conjunction with 10 interviews and 2 workshops have been conducted in order to identify the relevance and requirements of usability, security and usable security with a specific focus on SMEs. The obtained results are presented and derived implications are discussed in this paper.

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i-com - Journal of Interactive Media is devoted to human-computer interaction, media design, usability, engineering and systems evaluation, software ergonomics, cooperative systems, e-learning, mobile and ubiquitous systems, user-adaptive systems, agent development tools and methods for media in different application fields, barrier-free systems design, and the social aspects of information and communication technologies.