Smartphone Users’ Family, Friends, and Other Enemies

The number of smartphone users worldwide was expected to surpass 2 billion in 2016. To protect personal and other sensitive information from unauthorized access, some smartphone users lock their phones. Yet, others don’t, risking the data and online services accessible through their devices. The risks emanate from both device thieves and those whobelong to the users’ social circles, so called social insiders. In 2014, 2.1 million Americans (under 2%) had phones stolen. Continue reading “Smartphone Users’ Family, Friends, and Other Enemies”

Predicting Smartphone Users’ Permission Decisions

Current smartphone operating systems regulate application permissions by prompting users on an ask-on-first-use basis. Prior research has shown that this method is ineffective because it fails to account for context: the circumstances under which an application first requests access to data may be vastly different than the circumstances under which it subsequently requests access. Continue reading “Predicting Smartphone Users’ Permission Decisions”

“I Don’t Use Apple Pay Because It’s Less Secure …”

This paper reports on why people use, not use, or have stopped using mobile tap-and-pay in stores. The results of our online survey with 349 Apple Pay and 511 Android Pay participants suggest that the top reason for using mobile tap-and-pay is usability. Surprisingly, for nonusers of Apple Pay, security was their biggest concern. Continue reading ““I Don’t Use Apple Pay Because It’s Less Secure …””

Social Insider Attacks on Facebook

Facebook accounts are secured against unauthorized access through passwords and device-level security. Those , however, may not be sufficient to prevent social insider attacks, where attackers know their victims, and gain access to a victim’s account by interacting directly with their device. Continue reading “Social Insider Attacks on Facebook”

“I’m too Busy to Reset my LinkedIn Password”

A common security practice used to deal with a password breach is locking user accounts and sending out an email to tell users that they need to reset their password to unlock their account. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of this security practice based on the password reset email that LinkedIn sent out around May 2016, and through an online survey conducted on 249 LinkedIn users who received that email. Our evaluation shows that only about 46% of the participants reset their passwords. Continue reading ““I’m too Busy to Reset my LinkedIn Password””

Going After Vulnerable Population to Defend It

The orthodox paradigm to defend against automated social-engineering attacks in large-scale socio-technical systems is reactive and victim-agnostic. Defenses generally focus on identifying the attacks/attackers (e.g., phishing emails, social-bot infiltrations, malware offered for download). To change the status quo, we propose in our paper presented at NSPW ’16 to identify, even if imperfectly, the vulnerable user population, that is, the users that are likely to fall victim to such attacks. Once identified, information about the vulnerable population can be used in two ways.  Continue reading “Going After Vulnerable Population to Defend It”

Collaborative Study of Snooping on Mobile Phones Gets SOUPS Award

13483102_1026748250714486_8884387583233611527_oSOUPS ’16 paper on the prevalence of snooping on mobile phones has received Distinguished Paper award. The paper reports a series of quantitative studies that allowed a more accurate measurement of this phenomena. The study was led by our collaborators at the University of Lisbon. It was inspired by our previous study presented at Mobile CHI ’13. Continue reading “Collaborative Study of Snooping on Mobile Phones Gets SOUPS Award”

Sharing Health Information on Facebook Among Americans

hi_sharing_soups16itledMotivated by the benefits, people have used a variety of web-based services to share health information (HI) online. Among these services, Facebook, which enjoys the largest population of active subscribers, has become a common place for sharing various types of HI. Continue reading “Sharing Health Information on Facebook Among Americans”

Investigation of Phishing Avoidance

phishing_studyThis paper reports on a design and development of a mobile game prototype as an educational tool helping computer users to protect themselves against phishing attacks. The elements of a game design framework for avoiding phishing attacks were used to address the game design issues. Our mobile game design aimed to enhance the users’ avoidance behaviour through motivation to protect themselves against phishing threats.  Continue reading “Investigation of Phishing Avoidance”