Revealing Hidden Context: Improving Users' Mental Models of Personal Firewalls

Fahimeh Raja ; Kirstie Hawkey ; Konstantin Beznosov

28 July 2009

Abstract: Windows Vista’s personal firewall provides its diverse users with a basic interface that hides many operational details. However, our study of this interface revealed that concealing the impact of network context on the security state of the firewall results in mental models that are unclear about the protection provided by the firewall resulting in an inaccurate understanding of the firewall configuration. We developed a prototype to support more contextually complete mental models through inclusion of network context information. Results from our initial evaluation of the prototype support our approach of improving user understanding of underlying system states by revealing hidden context, while considering the tension between complexity of the interface and security of the system.

Keyword(s): Usable security ; firewall ; configuration ; mental model ; issnet

Published in: Talk given at Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS), July 2009, at Google in Mountain View, California, US.:

The record appears in these collections:
Usable Security

 Record created 2009-07-28, last modified 2013-05-22

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