Improved User Security Through Graphical Feedback

By Justice Juraschek | July 27, 2016

Improved User Security Through Graphical Feedback

Justice Juraschek Dannie M. Stanley Wed, Jul 27, 2016

A plethora of methods of being secure are available to end-users. However, there is a lack of adoption of those methods. We argue that one of the primary reasons for this is the absence of proper feedback within security-sensitive situations. We believe that a graphical representation of security-related consequences can positively influence security-sensitive user decisions.

To test this hypothesis, we created two versions of an interactive fiction time-management game. One version had a graphical representation of security-related consequences while the other did not. The game consists of a series of decisions with some being security-sensitive. The overt objective of the game is to complete a to-do list within time constraints. The participants were split into two groups: one that received the graphic and one that did not. The analysis found that no real change occurred in spite of the differences between game versions. On average, three out of eight of the security-related questions were answered in a secure manner.

We conclude that while our findings did not support our hypothesis, the experiment needs to be repeated with several factors changed in order to receive conclusive results. We believe the test needs to be run with more participants, more in-game security-sensitive scenarios, repeated in-game security-sensitive scenarios, a more naturally motivating graphical aid, and for a longer duration.

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