Computer Security for Humans

Friday October 19, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. at the Almonte United Church Social Hall

Speaker: Robert Biddle 

Topic: Computer Security for Humans


Computer security as a field was based principally on mathematics and technology but, with the widespread use of computers, the human factors have begun to receive much attention, giving rise to the subfield known as usable security: the human factors of computer security. Computers are now ubiquitous and using computers is a part of work and play for much of the world. In particular, we use computers to manage much of what we value in life, from financial resources to social relationships. Computer security involves protecting all that, including techniques for authentication, authorization, and keeping track of what happens. Usable security presents some interesting challenges and opportunities where principles of human behaviour can guide understanding and improvement. This talk surveys some of these challenges and opportunities, with a particular focus on research on password authentication.

Speaker’s Profile:

Robert Biddle is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carleton University. He is appointed both to the School of Computer Science and the Institute of Cognitive Science. He has won awards for teaching and research, and his research program involves active collaboration with a range of government and industry partners. His research is primarily in human factors in cyber-security and software design, especially creating and evaluating innovative designs for computer security software. He leads research themes for cross-Canada research networks on human-oriented computer security, for software engineering for surface applications, and for privacy and security in new media environments. Robert grew up in Ottawa, was a student at the Universities of Waterloo, Toronto, and Canterbury; he has a PhD in Computer Science and was a British Commonwealth Scholar.