Carleton University - School of Computer Science Honours Project
Winter 2017
EZCert: Usability Studies with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates
Lindsay Bangs
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ABSTRACT
Browser Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates play a key role in modern web security; they protect users by providing verification that the owner of the website is who they claim to be. To understand SSL certificates and how to use the certificate to protect themselves, users must be able to correctly interpret the certificate interface provided by their web browser. EZCert is a proposal for an alternative user interface for SSL certificates targeted towards the typical user with no technical knowledge of web security. We introduced EZCert to users through a user study consisting of an informal interviewing process. The results of the study show that users could process the information shown through the alternate interface and use that knowledge to make decisions regarding their online security.