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Security and usability: searching for the philosopher's stone.

Fléchais, Ivan; Faily, Shamal


Ivan Fléchais


This paper describes the unique challenges facing usable security research and design, and introduces three proposals for addressing these. For all intents and purposes security design is currently a craft, where quality is dependent on individuals and their ability, rather than principles and engineering. However, the wide variety of different skills necessary to design secure and usable systems is unlikely to be mastered by many individuals, requiring an unlikely combination of insight and education. Psychology, economics and cryptography have very little in common, and yet all have a role to play in the field of usable security. To address these concerns, three proposals are presented here: to adopt a principled design framework for usable security and privacy, to support a research environment where skills and knowledge can be pooled and shared, and to guide and inform the principles that underpin the educational curriculum of future security engineers and researchers.


FLÉCHAIS, I. and FAILY, S. 2010. Security and usability: searching for the philosopher's stone. Presented at the Workshop on the development of EuroSOUPS, 24 November 2010, Newcastle, UK. Hosted on [online]. Available from:

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Workshop on the development of EuroSOUPS
Conference Location Newcastle, UK
Start Date Nov 24, 2010
Deposit Date Dec 10, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 10, 2021
Keywords Systems security; User-centred design; Human-computer interaction (HCI); Software engineering; Requirements engineering
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