Design principles and patterns for computer systems that are simultaneously secure and usable
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
David D. Clark and Robert C. Miller.
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It is widely believed that security and usability are two antagonistic goals in system design. This thesis argues that there are many instances in which security and usability can be synergistically improved by revising the way that specific functionality is implemented in many of today's operating systems and applications. Specific design principles and patterns are presented that can accomplish this goal. Patterns are presented that minimize the release of confidential information through remnant and remanent data left on hard drives, in web browsers, and in documents. These patterns are based on a study involving the purchase of 236 hard drives on the secondary market, interviews conducted with organizations whose drives had been acquired, and through a detailed examination of modern web browsers and reports of information leakage in documents. Patterns are presented that enable secure messaging through the adoption of new key management techniques. These patterns are supported through an analysis of S/MIME handling in modern email clients, a survey of 469 Amazon.com merchants, and a user study of 43 individuals. Patterns are presented for promoting secure operation and for reducing the danger of covert monitoring. These patterns are supported by the literature review and an analysis of current systems.(cont.) In every case considered, it is shown that the perceived antagonism of security and usability can be scaled back or eliminated by revising the underlying designs on which modern systems are conceived. In many cases these designs can be implemented without significant user interface changes. The patterns described in this thesis can be directly applied by today's software developers and used for educating the next generation of programmers so that longstanding usability problems in computer security can at last be addressed. It is very likely that additional patterns can be identified in other related areas.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 2005.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Includes bibliographical references (p. 429-464) and index.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.