Human Factors in Security and Privacy



Time and place:

  • Thu 14:15-15:45, Room K1-119 Brose-Saal

Fields of study

  • WPF MT-MA-BDV from SEM 1
  • WPF INF-BA-V-SEC from SEM 5
  • WF INF-MA from SEM 1
  • WPF ME-MA-MG6 from SEM 1
  • WPF MT-BA-BV from SEM 5


People are often said to be "the weakest link” in the chain of IT security measures. This course provides insight into the ways in which IT security is affected by people and why it happens. Special attention will be paid to complex environments such as companies, governmental organizations or hospitals. A number of guest talks from practitioners and researchers highlight some of the issues in greater depth.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Terminology of security and privacy, technical and non-technical protection measures

  • Development and testing of usable security mechanisms (encryption and authentication tools, security policies, security warnings)

  • Risk perception and decision making in security and privacy context (usage of security software, reaction to security warnings, divulging information in social media)

  • Economics approach to security and privacy decision making (traditional and behavioral economics)

  • Trade-offs between the national security and surveillance (psychology behind the EU data retention directive and NSA programs)

  • Psychological principles of cyber fraud (scams, phishing, social engineering)

  • Security awareness and user education

  • Interplay of safety and security in complex systems

  • Research methods in human factors (qualitative vs. quantitative research, usability testing, experimental design, survey design, interviews)

Additional information

Expected participants: 60