Obstacles to the Adoption of Secure Communication Tools

Ruba Abu-Salma, M. Angela Sasse, Joseph Bonneau, Anastasia Danilova, Alena Naiakshina, Matthew Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The computer security community has advocated widespread adoption of secure communication tools to counter mass surveillance. Several popular personal communication tools (e.g., WhatsApp, iMessage) have adopted end-to-end encryption, and many new tools (e.g., Signal, Telegram) have been launched with security as a key selling point. However it remains unclear if users understand what protection these tools offer, and if they value that protection. In this study, we interviewed 60 participants about their experience with different communication tools and their perceptions of the tools' security properties. We found that the adoption of secure communication tools is hindered by fragmented user bases and incompatible tools. Furthermore, the vast majority of participants did not understand the essential concept of end-to-end encryption, limiting their motivation to adopt secure tools. We identified a number of incorrect mental models that underpinned participants' beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2017 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2017 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages137-153
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781509055326
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 23 2017
Event2017 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2017 - San Jose, United States
Duration: May 22 2017May 24 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
ISSN (Print)1081-6011

Other

Other2017 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2017
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period5/22/175/24/17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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