Bugs In The Wetware: The Psychology Of Computer Insecurity presented at KiwiCon 2007

by Peter Gutmann (University of Auckland ),

Tags: Security

Summary : It's been common wisdom for some time that the average user has a rather poor grasp of computer security issues. No matter how much effort the computer community expends in trying to educate people, they'll still click on attachments, hand over personal details at phishing sites, and in general engage in behaviour while online that they'd never dream of in the real world.
While the standard response is to blame the user, the real culprit is the way the human mind works. Millennia of evolutionary conditioning and the environment in which computer users operate cause them to act, and react, in predictable ways to given stimuli and situations. This talk looks at the (often surprising) ways in which the human mind deals with computer security issues, and why apparent bugs in the wetware are something that not only can't be patched but are often critical to our functioning as humans.