The security cost of cheap user interaction

Rainer Böhme, Jens Grossklags

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

37 Scopus citations


Human attention is a scarce resource, and lack thereof can cause severe security breaches. As most security techniques rely on considerate human intervention in one way or another, this resource should be consumed economically. In this context, we postulate the view that every false alarm or unnecessary user interaction imposes a negative externality on all other potential consumers of this chunk of attention. The paper identifies incentive problems that stimulate overconsumption of human attention in security applications. It further outlines a lump-of-attention model, devised against the backdrop of established theories in the behavioral sciences, and discusses incentive mechanisms to fix the misallocation problem in security notification, for instance the idea of a Pigovian tax on attention consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNSPW'11 - Proceedings of the 2011 New Security Paradigms Workshop
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 New Security Paradigms Workshop, NSPW'11 - Marin County, CA, United States
Duration: Sep 12 2011Sep 15 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings New Security Paradigms Workshop


Other2011 New Security Paradigms Workshop, NSPW'11
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMarin County, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software
  • Information Systems


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