Human Factors in Information Security and Privacy

Human Factors in Information Security and Privacy

Robert W. Proctor (Purdue University, USA), E. Eugene Schultz (High Tower Technologies, USA) and Kim-Phuong L. Vu (California State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-855-0.ch035
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Many measures that enhance information security and privacy exist. Because these measures involve humans in various ways, their effectiveness depends on the human factor. This chapter reviews basic components of information security and privacy with an emphasis on human factors issues. It provides an overview of empirical investigations that have been conducted regarding the usability of security and privacy measures. These studies show that users have difficulty interacting with complex interfaces and that users’ performance can be improved by incorporating human factors principles into the designs. The authors conclude by discussing how human factors analyses can lead to the design of usable systems for information security and privacy assurance.
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Human Factors will be critical in resolving issues surrounding privacy, the construction of usable profile interfaces, and many other issues. Marc Resnick, 2006

Information security and privacy are essential for the functioning of e-commerce and many other Web-based services. Security breaches (“security-related incidents”) have become commonplace. A security breach is an event in which a vulnerability is exploited to subvert or bypass security mechanisms. Some of the most frequent types of attacks that occur are Web page defacements, data security compromises, password-guessing attacks, and buffer overflow attacks in which an excessive amount of input is sent to a system or application to cause systems’ memory capacity to be exceeded to allow malicious commands to be executed (see Viega, 2005). These incidents often result in considerable disruption and financial loss.

Information security means protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data, applications, systems, and networks, as well ensuring that electronic transactions cannot be falsely repudiated (“non-repudiation”). Confidentiality means protection against unauthorized access to and reading of information, whereas integrity means protection against unauthorized changes in systems, networks, and information. Availability refers to the ability to gain uninterrupted access to systems, networks, and/or information. Non-repudiation denotes providing reasonable proof that the initiator of an electronic transaction was a certain person, even if that person denies having initiated that transaction. Securing a Web site necessitates securing the Web server itself, the application(s) that run on the Web server, data transmitted between the Web server and the client (browser), and the system on which the Web server runs.

Once a system’s information is secure, the issue of privacy assurance needs to be addressed. Users should be assured that their personal information will be used in its intended manner and that their preferences regarding use of this information will not be violated. Information privacy refers to protection against unauthorized disclosure of information about individuals. Privacy assurance has become a topic of considerable interest due to numerous highly publicized incidents of personal information being stolen, sold, or otherwise made available to unauthorized parties. Consequently, many organizations hosting Web sites now post privacy policies that are intended to inform users about how their personal information will be stored and used, and organizations may certify that a site’s policy adheres to good privacy practices. Also, protocols have been developed for standardizing Web privacy policies in machine-readable form so that client-based applications can automatically determine whether a site’s policy conforms to specified needs and preferences.

Human factors plays an important role in information security and privacy, but this role often is overlooked when designing secure systems (Proctor & Vu, 2004; Schultz, 2005). Because ensuring security and privacy relies on the cooperation and performance of end users, system administrators, and other authorized personnel, the maximal benefit of security and privacy measures cannot be achieved unless interactions between all types of users and the systems with which they interact are simple and user-friendly. People will not use security features and functionality if they find them intrusive or non-intuitive. Although user resistance to security- and privacy-related methods and tasks suggests that usability problems abound, too little research examining the relationship between usability and those methods and tasks has been published.

In this chapter, we discuss human factors issues, research, and challenges in both information security and privacy. In the first major section, we examine usability issues associated with each of the major areas of information security. We provide examples of usability problems in security-related tasks, as well as some well-designed interaction sequences. An analysis of each area of information security suggests that usability and security methods are often at least to some degree orthogonal to each other. Solutions discussed include elevating the default level of security in Web servers, offering simple settings that result in groups of related security parameters being set, and making available more security-enhancing reusable software routines and tools that integrate with Web servers and applications. The section concludes with an example focusing on password generation that shows how security can be improved through increased usability.

Key Terms in this Chapter

P3P Policy: A privacy policy written in a machine readable format specified by the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project of the World Wide Web Consortium.

Identification and Authentication: The process by which the system determines whether the user is who he or she claims to be and whether to allow the user access to systems and networks.

Access Control: The process by which system administrators determine who is permitted to gain entry to certain areas of a system or database.

Usability: The ease with which a system or interface can be used by a person. Usability studies evaluate alternative designs for products and interfaces to ensure effective transactions.

Personally Identifiable Information: Information in a computer-based transaction that can be linked directly to the individual user.

Human Factors: The interdisciplinary field devoted to the investigation of cognitive and physical characteristics of humans that influence their interactions with computers and other machines and systems.

Security/Privacy Breach: A breakdown in the security of a computer system that allows unauthorized persons access to the system and information on it.

Privacy Policy: A document that describes the information collected by a Web site and how this information is stored, used, and transferred.

Privacy Certification Seal: One of several logos provided by privacy certification companies when an organization’s privacy policy satisfies certain good privacy practices. It is posted on the Web site by the organization to assure users that the organization follows good privacy practices.

Identity theft: Inappropriately using a person’s identifying information, such as social security number or password, to engage in activities under that person’s name.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma
Chapter 1
Xin Luo, Qinyu Liao
In computer virology, advanced encryption algorithms, on the bright side, can be utilized to effectively protect valuable information assets of... Sample PDF
Ransomware: A New Cyber Hijacking Threat to Enterprises
Chapter 2
Joon S. Park
E-commerce has grown immensely with the increase in activity on the Internet, and this increase in activity, while immeasurable, has also presented... Sample PDF
E-Commerce: The Benefits, Security Risks, and Countermeasures
Chapter 3
Pamela Ajoku
Even though weapons and money are considered important factors for running a modern world, at the end of the day, it is all about controlling and... Sample PDF
Information Warfare: Survival of the Fittest
Chapter 4
Gaeil An, Joon S. Park
In this chapter, we discuss the evolution of the enterprise security federation, including why the framework should be evolved and how it has been... Sample PDF
Evolution of Enterprise Security Federation
Chapter 5
Roy Ng
The hypergrowth of computing and communications technologies increases security vulnerabilities to organizations. The lack of resources training... Sample PDF
A Holistic Approach to Information Security Assurance and Risk Management in an Enterprise
Chapter 6
John D’Arcy, Anat Hovav
A number of academic studies that focus on various aspects of information security management (ISM) have emerged in recent years. This body of work... Sample PDF
An Integrative Framework for the Study of Information Security Management Research
Chapter 7
Aditya Ponnam
Organizations worldwide recognize the importance of a comprehensive, continuously evolving risk assessment process, built around a solid risk... Sample PDF
Information Systems Risk Management: An Audit and Control Approach
Chapter 8
Udaya Kiran Tupakula
In this chapter we discuss Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in networks such as the Internet, which have become significantly prevalent... Sample PDF
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks in Networks
Chapter 9
Andy Luse
This chapter describes various firewall conventions, and how these technologies operate when deployed on a corporate network. Terms associated with... Sample PDF
Firewalls as Continuing Solutions for Network Security
Chapter 10
Jamie Twycross
The immune system provides a rich metaphor for computer security: anomaly detection that works in nature should work for machines. However, early... Sample PDF
An Immune-Inspired Approach to Anomaly Detection
Chapter 11
Wasim A. Al-Hamdani
This chapter introduces cryptography from information security phase rather than from deep mathematical and theoretical aspects, along with... Sample PDF
Cryptography for Information Security
Chapter 12
Carlo Belletini
The chapter introduces and describes representative defense mechanisms to protect from both basic and advanced exploitation of low-level coding... Sample PDF
Memory Corruption Attacks, Defenses, and Evasions
Chapter 13
Dalila Boughaci, Brahim Oubeka, Abdelkader Aissioui, Habiba Drias, Belaïd Benhamou
This chapter presents the design and the implementation of a decentralized firewall. The latter uses autonomous agents to coordinately control the... Sample PDF
Design and Implementation of a Distributed Firewall
Chapter 14
Tom Coffey
This chapter concerns the correct and reliable design of modern security protocols. It discusses the importance of formal verification of security... Sample PDF
A Formal Verification Centred Development Process for Security Protocols
Chapter 15
Ahsan Habib
This chapter develops a distributed monitoring scheme that uses edge-to-edge measurements to identify congested links and capture the misbehaving... Sample PDF
Edge-to-Edge Network Monitoring to Detect Service Violations and DoS Attacks
Chapter 16
Doug White, Alan Rea
Hard disk wipes are a crucial component of computing security. However, more often than not, hard drives are not adequately processed before either... Sample PDF
A "One-Pass" Methodology for Sensitive Data Disk Wipes
Chapter 17
Lijun Liao
This chapter deals with the issues concerning e-mail communication security. We analyze the most popular security mechanisms and standards related... Sample PDF
Securing E-Mail Communication with XML Technology
Chapter 18
Li Yang, Raimund K. Ege, Lin Luo
This chapter describes our approach to handle security in a complex Distributed Virtual Environment (DVE). The modules of such an environment all... Sample PDF
Aspect-Oriented Analysis of Security in Distributed Virtual Environment
Chapter 19
Information Availability  (pages 230-239)
Deepak Khazanchi
This chapter describes the concept of information availability (IAV) which is considered an important element of information security. IAV is... Sample PDF
Information Availability
Chapter 20
Siraj Ahmed Shaikh
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the research area of formal analysis of authentication protocols. It briefly introduces... Sample PDF
Formal Analysis and Design of Authentication Protocols
Chapter 21
Rajeev R. Raje, Alex Crespi, Omkar J. Tilak, Andrew M. Olson
Component-based software development offers a promising technique for creating distributed systems. It does require a framework for specifying... Sample PDF
Access Control Frameworks for a Distributed System
Chapter 22
Manish Gupta, JinKyu Lee, H. R. Rao
The Internet has emerged as the dominant medium in enabling banking transactions. Adoption of e-banking has witnessed an unprecedented increase over... Sample PDF
Implications of FFIEC Guidance on Authentication in Electronic Banking
Chapter 23
Sue Conger
Historically, companies have automated a security model that analogizes the concept of a “guardian” who monitors incoming and outgoing activities... Sample PDF
Disruptive Technology Impacts on Security
Chapter 24
Sushma Mishra
Internal auditing has become increasingly important in current business environments. In this era of the Sarbanes- Oxley Act and other similar... Sample PDF
Internal Auditing for Information Assurance
Chapter 25
William H. Friedman
This chapter is management oriented. It first proposes a general theoretical context for IT disasters within the wider class of all types of... Sample PDF
IT Continuity in the Face of Mishaps
Chapter 26
Yvette Ghormley
This chapter describes the tools that businesses can use to create a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan. Utilizing business modeling... Sample PDF
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans
Chapter 27
Yvette Ghormley
The number and severity of attacks on computer and information systems in the last two decades has steadily risen and mandates the use of security... Sample PDF
Security Policies and Procedures
Chapter 28
Arjmand Samuel
This chapter outlines the overall access control policy engineering framework in general and discusses the subject of validation of access control... Sample PDF
Enterprise Access Control Policy Engineering Framework
Chapter 29
Sushil K. Sharma, Jatinder N.D. Gupta
The purpose of the information security policy is to establish an organization-wide approach to prescribe mechanisms that help identify and prevent... Sample PDF
Information Security Policies: Precepts and Practices
Chapter 30
Paul D. Witman
This chapter provides a set of guidelines to assist information assurance and security researchers in creating, negotiating, and reviewing... Sample PDF
A Guide to Non-Disclosure Agreements for Researchers
Chapter 31
Omkar J. Tilak
Software realization of a large-scale Distributed Computing System (DCS) is achieved through the Componentbased Software Development (CBSD)... Sample PDF
Assurance for Temporal Compatibility Using Contracts
Chapter 32
Arjan Durresi
The latest estimates suggest that there are over two billion cell phone users worldwide. The massive worldwide usage has prompted technological... Sample PDF
Spatial Authentication Using Cell Phones
Chapter 33
Sushil K. Sharma, Jatinder N.D. Gupta, Ajay K. Gupta
The ability to perform E-Commerce over the Internet has become the driver of the new digital economy. As it has opened up opportunities for... Sample PDF
Plugging Security Holes in Online Environment
Chapter 34
Erik Graham, Paul John Steinbart
This chapter presents a step-by-step approach to improving the security of wireless networks. It describes the basic threats to achieving the... Sample PDF
Six Keys to Improving Wireless Security
Chapter 35
Robert W. Proctor, E. Eugene Schultz, Kim-Phuong L. Vu
Many measures that enhance information security and privacy exist. Because these measures involve humans in various ways, their effectiveness... Sample PDF
Human Factors in Information Security and Privacy
Chapter 36
Wm. Arthur Conklin
Software defects lead to security vulnerabilities, which cost businesses millions of dollars each year and threaten the security of both individuals... Sample PDF
Threat Modeling and Secure Software Engineering Process
Chapter 37
Christopher M. Botelho, Joseph A. Cazier
The threat of social engineering attacks is prevalent in today’s society. Even with the pervasiveness of mass media’s coverage of hackers and... Sample PDF
Guarding Corporate Data from Social Engineering Attacks
Chapter 38
Tom Clark
Data storage is playing an increasingly visible role in securing application data in the data center. Today virtually all large enterprises and... Sample PDF
Data Security for Storage Area Networks
Chapter 39
Edgar Weippl
This chapter outlines advanced options for security training. It builds on previous publications (Weippl 2005, 2006) and expands them by including... Sample PDF
Security Awareness: Virtual Environments and E-Learning
Chapter 40
Manish Gupta
Enterprises are increasingly interested in new and cost effective technologies to leverage existing investments in IT and extend capabilities to... Sample PDF
Security-Efficient Identity Management Using Service Provisioning (Markup Language)
Chapter 41
Dwayne Stevens, David T. Green
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks signal an evolution in telecommunications that is accelerating the convergence of the Internet and the... Sample PDF
A Strategy for Enterprise VoIP Security
Chapter 42
Jose M. Torres
This chapter presents an Information Systems Security Management Framework (ISSMF) which encapsulates eleven Critical Success Factors (CSFs) along... Sample PDF
Critical Success Factors and Indicators to Improve Information Systems Security Management Actions
Chapter 43
Rebecca H. Rutherfoord
This chapter will deal with issues of privacy, societal, and ethical concerns in enterprise security. Security for a company is defined as... Sample PDF
Privacy, Societal, and Ethical Concerns in Security
Chapter 44
Rodolfo Villarroel, Eduardo Fernández-Medina, Juan Trujillo, Mario Piattini
This chapter presents an approach for designing secure Data Warehouses (DWs) that accomplish the conceptual modeling of secure DWs independently... Sample PDF
An MDA Compliant Approach for Designing Secure Data Warehouses
Chapter 45
Hai Wang
This chapter introduces the survivability evaluation, especially on the corresponding evaluation criteria and modeling techniques. The content of... Sample PDF
Survivability Evaluation Modeling Techniques and Measures
Chapter 46
Art Taylor
With the rise of the Internet, computer systems appear to be more vulnerable than ever from security attacks. Much attention has been focused on the... Sample PDF
The Last Line of Defense: A Comparison of Windows and Linux Authentication and Authorization Features
Chapter 47
M. Pradhan
Information Technology can be used at all levels to counter attack bioterrorism. This article gives an overview of use of Information Technology for... Sample PDF
Bioterrorism and Biosecurity
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