Usable Security

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Course Date: 18 August 2014 to 13 October 2014 (8 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

This course focuses on how to design and build secure systems with a human-centric focus. We will look at basic principles of human-computer interaction, and apply these insights to the design of secure systems with the goal of developing security measures that respect human performance and their goals within a system.


Estimated Workload: 3-5 hours/week

Course Instructors

Jennifer Golbeck

Dr. Jennifer Golbeck is Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Her research focuses on analyzing and computing with social media. This includes building models of social relationships, particularly trust, as well as user preferences and attributes, and using the results to design and build systems that improve the way people interact with information online. She is a Research Fellow of the Web Science Research Initiative and in 2006, she was selected as one of IEEE Intelligent Systems' Top Ten to Watch, a list of their top young AI researchers.

Course Description

In many systems, human users are a critical part of the security process. They create passwords, follow security protocols, and share information that can maintain or destroy the security of a system. However, many secure systems are designed with little to no attention paid to people's cognitive abilities, workflow, or tasks. As a result, people find ways around the security obstacles that get in the way of their work.

This course focuses on how to design and build secure systems with a human-centric focus. We will look at basic principles of human-computer interaction, including the basics of humans' cognitive abilities, principles of usability, design techniques, and evaluation methods. We will then apply these insights to the design of secure systems with the goal of developing security measures that respect human performance and their goals within a system.

Through hands-on exercises designing, building, evaluating, and critiquing systems, students will learn how to integrate usability into secure software. The course will specifically focus on authentication mechanisms, browsing security, privacy and social media, and mobile security.

Syllabus

Syllabus

Introduction to HCI, usable security, and design

  • Usability
  • Mental and psychological models
  • Design methodology
Measuring and evaluating usability
  • Usability studies
  • Iterative design
Authentication
  • Password systems
  • Two-factor authentication and other alternative schemes
  • Biometrics
Web browsing and security
  • Tracking
  • Anonymous browsing
  • Secure browsing
Privacy and social media
  • Personal data sharing
  • Privacy policies / data sharing
  • Personal trait Inference
Mobile security

Course Workload

3-5 hours/week

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