Study: People Ignore Up to 90% of Software Security Warnings

Thursday Aug 18th 2016 by Developer.com Staff
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Developers need to time warnings so that they don't interrupt people in the middle of doing something else.

Researchers from Brigham Young University and Google Chrome have released a new report which finds that users ignore software security warnings 90 percent of the time. The report authors say that the reason why people don't pay attention is that the warnings are poorly timed and pop up while people are busy with other things. "We found that the brain can't handle multitasking very well," said study coauthor and BYU information systems professor Anthony Vance. "Software developers categorically present these messages without any regard to what the user is doing. They interrupt us constantly and our research shows there's a high penalty that comes by presenting these messages at random times."

"But you can mitigate this problem simply by finessing the timing of the warnings," said Jeff Jenkins, lead author of the study. "Waiting to display a warning to when people are not busy doing something else increases their security behavior substantially."

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