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Eighth International Symposium on Human Aspects of Information Security & Assurance (HAISA 2014)
Title: An assessment of the human factors affecting the password performance of South African online consumers
Author(s): Rika Butler, Martin Butler
Keywords: Passwords, Password Performance, Security, Human Behaviour
Abstract: User identification and authentication is regarded as the basis of computer security. In spite of many new technologies to assist with authentication, passwords remain central to access control systems in most computer systems. The password practices that online consumers apply have a direct effect on the level of security and are often the target of an array of attacks. Research suggests that passwords breaches are frequently the result of poor user security behaviour.
Internationally, poor password behaviour among users is common. The objective of this study was to investigate the password performance of South African online consumers and to understand the factors contributing to poor password performance. A web-based survey was designed to determine online consumers’ perceptions of their password-related knowledge, measure their ability to apply safe practices and asses their motivational levels to employ secure practices.
Poor password practices among South African online consumers were evident from this study. Using a construct for password performance, this analysis indicated a deficiency in the knowledge, capability and motivation of users. Ignorance, Incompetence and Indifference were apparent as causes for online consumers’ poor password behaviour. It is suggested that measures aimed at improving password performance be tailored based on the underlying causes for poor password performance as indicated by this study.
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