A Typology of Perceived Triggers for End-User Security and Privacy Behaviors


Sauvik Das, Georgia Institute of Technology; Laura A. Dabbish and Jason I. Hong, Carnegie Mellon University


What triggers end-user security and privacy (S&P) behaviors? How do those triggers vary across individuals? When and how do people share their S&P behavior changes? Prior work, in usable security and persuasive design, suggests that answering these questions is critical if we are to design systems that encourage pro-S&P behaviors. Accordingly, we asked 852 online survey respondents about their most recent S&P behaviors (n = 1947), what led up to those behaviors, and if they shared those behaviors. We found that social “triggers”, where people interacted with or observed others, were most common, followed by proactive triggers, where people acted absent of an external stimulus, and lastly by forced triggers, where people were forced to act. People from different age groups, nationalities, and levels of security behavioral intention (SBI) all varied in which triggers were dominant. Most importantly, people with low-to-medium SBI most commonly reported social triggers. Furthermore, participants were four times more likely to share their behavior changes with others when they, themselves, reported a social trigger.

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@inproceedings {238305,
author = {Sauvik Das and Laura A. Dabbish and Jason I. Hong},
title = {A Typology of Perceived Triggers for {End-User} Security and Privacy Behaviors},
booktitle = {Fifteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2019)},
year = {2019},
isbn = {978-1-939133-05-2},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
pages = {97--115},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/soups2019/presentation/das},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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