Kent Seamons: "Usable Security: When Transparency Leads to Confusion and Distrust"


The quest for usable security often leads us to design systems that hide security details from users so that they can focus on their primary task. In this talk, Dr. Seamons will review some examples from our research where transparency can lead to confusion and mistakes. Users may distrust a system when they are unsure how it behaves. Researchers were surprised when a system using manual encryption was competitive with a system using automatic encryption. The users understood and trusted the system that exposed more encryption details.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Dr. Kent Seamons directs the Internet Security Research Lab in the Computer Science Department at Brigham Young University (BYU). His research interests are in usable security, authentication, identity management, trust management, and privacy. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois (UIUC) and spent five years in industrial research at the IBM Transarc Lab where he was a co-inventor of trust negotiation. His current projects include secure webmail, server-side detection of TLS proxies, and provably secure password protocols for single sign-on.