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Smart Webcam Cover: Exploring the Design of an Intelligent Webcam Cover to Improve Usability and TrustLaptop webcams can be covertly activated by malware and law enforcement agencies. Consequently, 59% percent of Americans manually cover their webcams to avoid being surveilled. However, manual covers are prone to human error---through a survey with 200 users, we found that 61.5% occasionally forget to re-attach their cover after using their webcam. To address this problem, we developed Smart Webcam Cover (SWC): a thin film that covers the webcam (PDLC-overlay) by default until a user manually uncovers the webcam, and automatically covers the webcam when not in use. Through a two-phased design iteration process, we evaluated SWC with 20 webcam cover users through a remote study with a video prototype of SWC, compared to manual operation, and discussed factors that influence users' trust in the effectiveness of SWC and their perceptions of its utility.
Bit Whisperer: Improving Access Control over Ad-hoc, Short-range, Wireless Communications via Surface-bound AcousticsBluetooth requires device pairing to ensure security in data transmission, encumbering a number of ad-hoc, transactional interactions that require both ease-of-use and "good enough" security: e.g., sharing contact information or secure links to people nearby. We introduce Bit Whisperer, an ad-hoc short-range wireless communication system that enables "walk up and share'" data transmissions with "good enough" security. Bit Whisperer transmits data to proximate devices co-located on a solid surface through high frequency, inaudible acoustic signals. The physical surface has two benefits: it limits communication range since sound travels more robustly on a flat solid surface than air; and, it makes the domain of communication visible, helping users identify exactly with whom they are sharing data without prior pairing. Through a series of technical evaluations, we demonstrate that Bit Whisperer is robust for common use-cases and secure against likely threats. We also implement three example applications to demonstrate the utility of Whisperer: 1-to-1 local contact sharing, 1-to-N private link sharing to open a secure group chat, and 1-to-N local device authentication.
Improving end-users’ awareness of cybersecurity warnings (e.g., phishing and malware alerts) remains a longstanding problem in usable security. Prior work suggests two key weaknesses with existing warnings: they are primarily communicated via saturated communication channels (e.g., visual, auditory, and vibrotactile); and, they are communicated rationally, not viscerally. We hypothesized that wrist-based affective haptics should address both of these weaknesses in a form-factor that is practically deployable: i.e., as a replaceable wristband compatible with modern smartwatches like the Apple Watch. To that end, we designed and implemented Spidey Sense, a wristband that produces customizable squeezing sensations to alert users to urgent cybersecurity warnings. To evaluate Spidey Sense, we applied a three-phased ‘Gen-Rank-Verify’ study methodology with 48 participants. We found evidence that, relative to vibrotactile alerts, Spidey Sense was considered more appropriate for the task of alerting people to cybersecurity warnings.