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The human factor in software updates

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Installing security-relevant software updates is one of the best protection mechanisms available for both end users and security administrators. In the last year alone 99.9% of vulnerabilities were exploited over a year after they were publicly announced, meaning that in most cases people could have avoided compromise if they had installed existing updates. Unfortunately, people avoid installing updates for quite a few reasons. To better understand these reasons, my team elicited software update stories from 307 users and conducted a manual content analysis of the story content. In this talk I will present the general ecosystem around software updates as well as what the barriers are to getting updates installed quickly.

Bio:

Kami Vaniea is a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Her work is in the area of human factors of security and privacy. She is interested in making security and privacy technologies more accessible for people who have limited prior experience with security. Her current projects include barriers to software update installation, making safe online choices, and helping app designers build security into their apps. Her research looks at how to assist users in making informed security and privacy choices by providing relevant feedback about their choices and options.

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

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