Angela Sasse & Research Group
M. Angela Sasse is the Professor of Human-Centred Security at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. She read psychology in Germany before she obtained an MSc in Occupational Psychology from Sheffield University and an PhD in Computer Science from the University of Birmingham. She started investigating the causes and effects of usability issues with security mechanisms in 1996. Her 1999 seminal paper with Anne Adams, Users are Not the Enemy, is one of two papers that founded the research area of usable security. She was the founding Director of the UK Research Institute for Science of Cyber Security (RISCS) which promotes multidisciplinary evidence-based research into the effectiveness of cyber security policies and measures. Since 2018, she is the Professor of Human-Centred Security at RUB and leads Hub D (Usability) of the Cluster of Excellence CASA.
Within CASA, we are researching what experts and non-experts know about security threats and the role of encryption in defending against them, and how that knowledge fosters adoption and use. Currently our research focuses on 'general' and 'technical' users - such as developers and systems administrators.
In the first half of Hub D day of the summer school, we will present an overview of the research on this topic to date, starting with Whitten & Tygar's seminal 1999 USENIX paper 'Why Johnny can't encrypt'. We will critically review how researchers have tried to improve the usability of tools, and whether this has increased usage and decreased mistakes. We will then present what we know about the mental models of different user groups, and how these influence adoption and usage. One of the conclusions is that the current terminology and communications around encryption are confusing and off-putting. In the second half of the day, we will conduct some hands-on user research and design exercises in small groups - how we can find out what protection users want? how should we represent those security properties in user interfaces of tools, and the communication that accompanies them? Expect lego, plasticine, coloured pens and post-its.