Careers & People

Stop Blaming Users. Make Security User-Friendly.

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Jelle Niemantsverdriet of Deloitte visits the Dark Reading News Desk at Black Hat to explain how security can be improved if security tools, error messages, and help desk calls educate users and 'put a smile on someone's face.'

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bboink1
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bboink1,
User Rank: Strategist
9/15/2016 | 10:09:50 AM
Users Still need the Blame
Users are the weakest link.  When the security measures are in place and the user still does the wrong thing because there are no consequences adapting the security to them is a futile effort.  The only fix to that is to hold the users accountable.  Case in point, trying to make cars that keep you in your lane or stop for you is needed because people are not paying attention.  How about when they cause an accident due to texting and driving they get rewarded with license revocation.

As far as taking the empathy approach with the user, it is difficult to build security around the "I am going to do what I am going to do regardless of what I am supposed to do" attitude. No matter how friendly you make the security if it inhibits the user from doing what they want they will ignore and find a way around.

Designing better error messages for the users is a good idea.  It is possible if the error message was informative it would help the tech that has to work on it.  .That being said most of the users do not read the error message so that would not help a user.  Just as they do not read the popup that downloads the cropto-ware on their system.  An example of this is when the help desk gets the call of "It just stopped working," and "I didn't do anything."  Of course the answer of "ummm....I don't know" when asked "What did the error message say?"  Users just click without reading.

The point of rewarding them for doing what they are supposed to do is like giving them a trophy for showing up.  Then they will expect a trophy all of the time and the value of the "incentive" will diminish.  This is what created the situation that we are in with the users not caring now.

I do agree that security must be made to be a bit more user friendly.  I also believe that the users will adapt in a downward direction to put us back in the same situation.  I think accountability is the direction that will produce a bigger bang for the buck.
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