Understanding smartphone users' awareness of security and privacy in downloading third-party applications - A survey in UK and Japan

Kawakubo, Noriko (2013) Understanding smartphone users' awareness of security and privacy in downloading third-party applications - A survey in UK and Japan. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Smartphones have gained a high popularity worldwide. Many of smartphone users utilize the feature which allows downloading third-party applications to fully enjoy the capabilities of smartphones. Smartphone users' profiles can vary widely, from teenagers who heavily use social network applications to someone who fully makes use of many different types of applications which utilize various technologies a smartphone offers. Meanwhile, there have been many reports about malicious applications. These applications can cause various damages to smartphone users, which often involve unwanted user information disclosure or operations. Security and privacy are key factors for users to avoid such applications. The aim of this paper is to give insight as to smartphone users' security and privacy perceptions and awareness in order to better understand their perspectives and behaviors pertaining to the application downloading feature. Specifically, this paper addresses questions which ask if smartphone users are aware of security or privacy, if security-related factors affect users' motivation to download applications, if security or privacy awareness differs by user attributes or smartphone platforms, and what can be done to improve user experiences as to the application downloading feature. The focus was placed on iPhone and Android phone since these are the most-selected smartphone platforms at the time of writing.

In order to address the above questions, a survey was conducted in the form of a questionnaire involving 194 participants and interviews with six participants in two countries, United Kingdom and Japan, following a literature review. The survey results were analyzed to identify more vulnerable user groups in terms of security or privacy as well as to formulate recommendations to improve user experiences around the application downloading feature.

The survey results suggest that security and privacy awareness varies by smartphone platforms, nationality, or users' security-related behaviors or habits, which allowed identifying more vulnerable user groups. The rationales behind participants' perceptions or behaviors were also revealed from the interviews. Based on the findings obtained from the survey, four recommendations were provided which involve user education and improvement of security indicators, permissions control, and security information sources. As a result, this paper offers insight as to smartphone users' security or privacy perceptions which can be utilized for better products and services development by manufacturers, application developers, mobile operators, or smartphone platform vendors.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: Smartphone, Security, Security awareness, Privacy, Privacy awareness, iPhone, Android, Third-party applications, Applications, User survey.
Depositing User: Gonzalez-Orbegoso, Mrs Carolina
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2015 12:37
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 01:43
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/30909

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