"They Keep Coming Back Like Zombies”: Improving Software Updating Interfaces

Assistant Professor Marshini Chetty, from the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, will present the Department of Computer Science seminar, with a talk entitled, "They Keep Coming Back Like Zombies”: Improving Software Updating Interfaces.

Users may not install security-related software updates which can open up their device to exploitation by attackers. Yet, we know little about why users avoid updates in the first place or how to convince users to apply security-related patches. Given that malware and cyber-attacks are on the rise, filling this gap in our knowledge is a crucial part of helping users to keep their systems secure. In this talk, I outline the user barriers to desktop software updates that we uncovered in a formative study of 30 users’ software updating practices. I then describe the design of a low-fidelity, minimally intrusive, information-rich, user-centric,  software updating prototype created to address issues identified in the formative study and the subsequent evaluation with 22 users.  Our findings suggest that updates are disruptive, provide insufficient information to convince users to apply updates, and that users vary in terms of how they want to be notified and provide consent for updates. Based on our findings, I make four recommendations to improve desktop updating interfaces and outline socio-technical considerations around software updating that will ultimately affect end-user security. Finally, I outline directions for future work in this space.

Marshini Chetty is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland specializing in human computer interaction and ubiquitous computing. Her research focuses on making the Internet more efficient, affordable, and secure from the user perspective via user studies and the design, implementation, and evaluation of end-user facing technologies. Her work is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and two Google Faculty Research Awards and she regularly publishes in top tier human computer interaction venues such as CHI and Ubicomp. Marshini holds a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA and a Masters and Bachelors in Computer Science from University of Cape Town, South Africa.


Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 13:00

Computer Science Lecture Theatre 302, Upper Campus, UCT