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The security cost of cheap user interaction

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Human attention is a scarce resource, and lack thereof can cause severe security breaches. As most security techniques rely on considerate human intervention efforts in one way or another, this resource should be consumed economically. In this context, we postulate the view that every false alarm or unnecessary user interaction imposes a negative externality on all other potential consumers of this chunk of attention. The talk identifies incentive problems that stimulate overconsumption of human attention in security applications. It further outlines a lump-of-attention model, devised against the backdrop of established theories in the behavioral sciences, and discusses incentive mechanisms to fix the misallocation problem in security notification, for instance the idea of a tax on attention consumption. (Full paper at NSPW 2011 )

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Group meeting presentations series.

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