Human Centered Security Experimentation

General information

Type of lecture:Integrated Lecture / Block Lecture / 6CP / 4SWS
Lecturer:Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Melanie Volkamer, Dr. Karen Renaud
Place / Time: please see section time schedule, below
Begin / End:17.03.2014 - 15.08.2014
Requirements:An interest in the area of usable security, in designing such systems for the human, and not for the expert
Exam:08.09.2014. Paper with user study description and analysis are submitted and discussed with lecturer.
Frequency:only this semester
Remark:Interdisziplinärer Studienschwerpunkt "Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung - NAG"

Time Schedule


Security products are generally not usable for our society, and often only accessible to the people with a deep understanding of the theoretical aspects of security. This is a poor strategy because every computer user these days has to be able to use security products and they thus have to be designed with the non-expert in mind. The focus of this integrated course is on making information security usable and sensitive to the human in everyday life. However, this is not possible without applying empirical methods. Therefore, the course provides you with - besides a general introduction into the research area of human centered security - an introduction to the scientific method, and how user experiments are conducted and analysed. Students will design and conduct their own experiment and evaluate the data. They will submit a report about the studied artefact, the design and the results of the study which will be graded.

This course will be taught as follows:

  1. Introduction in usable security
  2. Scientific Method & User Study Design
  3. Artefacts to be studied
  4. User study
  5. Design feedback
  6. Data analysis
  7. Discussion of own results


We aspect you to be interestes in interdiciplinary topics. A background in computing is not essential as the lecture is also offered to students of other departments. However, an ability to write a research report in English is required. Students should also be competent web searchers and be able to read research papers and answer questions about them.

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