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Assessing the Usability of Security Features in Tools and Applications
Moustafa F, Furnell SM
Advances in Communications, Computing, Networks and Security 6, ISBN: 978-1-84102-258-1, pp98-106, 2009
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Today’s Security Software Tools and Applications such as Firewall, Anti-spyware, and Anti-Virus are developed in such a fashion that they provide only partial guidance to the end-users. Because of which though end users have advanced security software tools in hand they were unable to utilize the security features inbuilt. This research focuses on improving the usability of security features in Tools and Applications. The research evaluates 6 security programs and 3 web browsers for usability issues. User’s perception/understanding on those usability issues were surveyed among 30 participants. The evaluation and survey results reveal that security awareness among end users and usability awareness among product vendors are in developing stage. The major usability issues addressed in today’s security products are inappropriate help documentation, overloading the window with rarely needed features/information, using high technical vocabulary terms, missing of most frequently used actions in home page, protection-less password protection settings and hectic default configuration settings. The suggested solutions and alternative interface styles are provided for these potentially confusing interfaces to improve the usability of the security features in selected tools and applications.

Moustafa F, Furnell SM