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Report | Research library
| 07/12/2023

Human Factors Knowledge Area

M. Angela Sasse | Awais Rashid

over the past 20 years, there has been a growing body of research into the underlying causes of security failures and the role of human factors. The insight that has emerged is that security measures are not adopted because humans are treated as components whose behaviour can be specified through security policies, and controlled through security mechanisms and sanctions. But the fault does not lie primarily with the users, as suggested by the oft-used phrase that humans are the ‘weakest link’, but in ignoring the requirements that Kerckhoffs and Schroeder & Saltzer so clearly identified: that security needs to be usable and acceptable to be effective. An example of this is the case of password policies. Adams & Sasse showed that password policies and mechanisms agreed upon by security experts did not work at all in practice and, consequently, were routinely bypassed by employees. Naiakshina et al. showed that not only end-users have trouble with passwords but developers do as well. Developers need to be explicitly prompted to include security and, even when this is done, they often include outdated and faulty security mechanisms

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