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Building trust around password managers

Alodhyani, Fahad 2022. Building trust around password managers. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Passwords are considered to be the first line of defence in protecting online accounts and data. However, there are problems when people handle their own passwords such as password reuse and difficulty to memorize. Password managers appear to be a promising solution to help people handle their own passwords, but there is a low adoption of password managers even though they are widely available. Therefore, the issues that cause people not to use password managers must be investigated and, more generally, what users think about password managers in terms of usability and trust, and the user interfaces of password managers. In this thesis, I conducted the following three studies: (1) an evaluation of the user interface and usability of three password managers using Nielsen’s heuristics; (2) a user study about the usability of and user trust in password managers; and (3) an online questionnaire about users and non-users of password managers. The findings show that usability is only a minor issue for non-users while lack of trust is the main reason for not using password managers. Users of password managers have trust issues and security concerns with password managers. Also, cloud password managers offer useful features but there is a need to improve specific aspects, such as computer jargon and difficulty in account recovery. So, in order to enhance trust and bridge the gap between people and password managers, I built and implemented a multi-platform prototype, which can be accessible from all popular web browsers on different devices, to improve transparency and control in iv password managers. I conducted two user studies to evaluate it and the results show that improving transparency in password managers leads to a better understanding of the system and enhances trust in password managers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Computer Science & Informatics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Funders: Majmaah University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 September 2022
Date of Acceptance: 22 September 2022
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2022 09:14

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