CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


College of Engineering and Computing


Gurvirender Tejay

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Ling Wang


Mobile devices have evolved from an accessory to the primary computing device for an increasing portion of the general population. Not only is mobile the primary device, consumers on average have multiple Internet-connected devices. The trend towards mobile has resulted in a shift to “mobile-first” strategies for delivering information and services in business organizations, universities, and government agencies. Though principles for good security design exist, those principles were formulated based upon the traditional workstation configuration instead of the mobile platform. Security design needs to follow the shift to a “mobile-first” emphasis to ensure the usability of the security interface. The mobile platform has constraints on resources that can adversely impact the usability of security. This research sought to identify design principles for usable security for mobile devices that address the constraints of the mobile platform. Security and usability have been seen as mutually exclusive. To accurately identify design principles, the relationship between principles for good security design and usability design must be understood. The constraints for the mobile environment must also be identified, and then evaluated for their impact on the interaction of a consumer with a security interface. To understand how the application of the proposed mobile security design principles is perceived by users, an artifact was built to instantiate the principles. Through a series of guided interactions, the importance of proposed design principles was measured in a simulation, in human-computer interaction, and in user perception. The measures showed a resounding difference between the usability of the same security design delivered on mobile vs. workstation platform. It also reveals that acknowledging the constraints of an environment and compensating for the constraints yields mobile security that is both usable and secure. Finally, the hidden cost of security design choices that distract the user from the surrounding environment were examined from both the security perspective and public safety perspective.