Human Aspects of Information Security, Privacy, and Trust

Volume 8533 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 172-182

Capturing Attention for Warnings about Insecure Password Fields – Systematic Development of a Passive Security Intervention

  • Nina KolbAffiliated withTU Darmstadt
  • , Steffen BartschAffiliated withTU Darmstadt
  • , Melanie VolkamerAffiliated withTU Darmstadt
  • , Joachim VogtAffiliated withTU Darmstadt

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Eavesdropping on passwords sent over insecure connections still poses a significant threat to Web users. Current measures to warn about insecure connections in browsers are often overlooked or ignored. In this paper, we systematically design more effective security interventions to indicate insecure connections in combination with password requests. We focus on catching the attention of the user with the proposed security interventions. We comparatively evaluate the three developed interventions using eye-tracking and report how effective these options are in the context of three different website designs. We find that one of the options – red background of the password field – captures significantly more attention than the others, but is less linked to the underlying problem than the yellow warning triangle option. Thus, we recommend a combination of the two options.


security warnings security interventions morphological approach attention