CALL FOR PAPERS
Usability, Psychology, and Security 2008
April 14, 2008
San Francisco, CA, USA
Sponsored by USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association
Co-located with the 5th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design
& Implementation (NSDI '08), which will take place April 16-18, 2008,
and the First USENIX Workshop on Large-Scale Exploits and Emergent
Threats (LEET '08), which will take place April 15, 2008
Submissions due: January 18, 2008
Notification of acceptance: February 28, 2008
Final papers due: March 18, 2008
Elizabeth Churchill, Yahoo! Research
Rachna Dhamija, Harvard University
Steven M. Bellovin, Columbia University
Dan Boneh, Stanford University
Coye Cheshire, University of California, Berkeley
Julie Downs, Carnegie Mellon University
Stuart Schechter, Microsoft Research
Sean Smith, Dartmouth University
J.D. Tygar, University of California, Berkeley
Paul Van Oorschot, Carleton University
Information security involves both technology and people. To design
and deploy secure systems, we require an understanding of how users
of those systems perceive, understand, and act on security risks and
This one-day workshop will bring together an interdisciplinary group
of researchers, systems designers, and developers to discuss how the
fields of human computer interaction, applied psychology, and
computer security can be brought together to inform innovations in
secure systems design. We seek to deepen the conversation about
usable security to go beyond the user interface, toward developing
useful and usable systems of humans and technology.
Topics include but are not limited to:
- Error detection and recovery
- Human perception and cognitive information processing
- Identity and impression management
- Individual and cultural differences
- Information seeking and evaluation
- Judgment and decision-making
- Learning, training, and experience
- Mental models
- Models of privacy, sharing, and trust
- Organizational, group, and individual behavior
- Risk perception, risk analysis, and risk communication
- Security behavior study methodology
- Social engineering
- Social influence and persuasion
- System proposals and design approaches
- Threat evaluation
- User motivation and incentives for secure behavior
The study of human attention, learning, reasoning, and behavior
addresses issues of central relevance to computer security. For example:
- Security weaknesses often arise from biases in human perception and
cognitive information processing. For example, phishing attacks use
confusing perceptual cues and fear to trick users into revealing
- Assessing, creating, and managing secure systems requires ongoing
information seeking and information evaluation, as new threats emerge
constantly. However, understanding complex and dynamic systems is
time-consuming and error-prone, and users have little motivation to
spend the time and effort that is required.
- The perception of risk can influence users' willingness to employ
security mechanisms or engage in risky behavior. However, risk
perception and decision-making are often based on limited domain
knowledge and are subject to bias; we underestimate some risks and
- People's level of confidence in their risk assessments can be
perceptually and socially manipulated, independent of actual risks.
Attackers (and system designers) often create the perception of
security, even when none exists.
- Human reasoning follows certain patterns, which are subject to
change with experience. Through training and education, we can help
users to learn methods and procedures and develop mental models of
how security systems work.
- People learn through interaction with others. Models of social
influence suggest that information garnered from a trusted source can
affect people's behavior or attitudes, but the level of trust
conferred on others is dependent on situational factors.
Organizational factors and group behavior can also have a large
effect on individual behavior.
- Approaches to risk assessment, identity and impression management,
and trust vary from one individual to another and also vary by culture.
Usability, Psychology, and Security 2008 invites insightful new
contributions that apply aspects of human/computer interaction and
applied psychology to solving problems in computer security. We
invite submissions in two categories.
1. Short papers: We encourage short papers that describe innovative
work in progress or position papers that map out directions for
future research or design. Short papers should be no longer than five
2. Full papers: Full papers may describe systems, case studies,
fieldwork descriptions, experimental studies, and design frameworks.
Full papers must be no longer than ten (10) single-spaced 8.5" x 11"
pages, including figures, tables, and references.
All submissions should offer new contributions that have not been
published elsewhere. Author names and affiliations should appear on
the title page. Submissions must be in PDF and must be submitted via
the form on the Usability, Psychology, and Security 2008 Call for
Papers Web site:
Papers accompanied by nondisclosure agreement forms will not be
considered. All submissions will be treated as confidential prior to
publication in the Proceedings.
Simultaneous submission of the same work to multiple venues,
submission of previously published work, and plagiarism constitute
dishonesty or fraud. USENIX, like other scientific and technical
conferences and journals, prohibits these practices and may, on the
recommendation of a program chair, take action against authors who
have committed them. In some cases, program committees may share
information about submitted papers with other conference chairs and
journal editors to ensure the integrity of papers under
consideration. If a violation of these principles is found, sanctions
may include, but are not limited to, barring the authors from
submitting to or participating in USENIX conferences for a set
period, contacting the authors' institutions, and publicizing the
details of the case.
Note, however, that we expect that many papers accepted for the
workshop will eventually be extended as full papers suitable for
presentation at future conferences.
Authors uncertain whether their submission meets USENIX's guidelines
should contact the Program Chairs, [log in to unmask], or the
USENIX office, [log in to unmask]
This workshop evolved from Usable Security (USEC'07). The USEC'07
program and papers are available on the workshop Web site:
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