Google Research

Evaluating User Behavior in Smartphone Security: A Psychometric Perspective

  • Hsiao-Ying Huang
  • Soteris Demetriou
  • Muhammad Hassan
  • Güliz Seray Tuncay
  • Carl A. Gunter
  • Masooda Bashir


Smartphones have become an essential part of our modern society. Their popularity and ever-increasing relevance in our daily lives make these devices an integral part of our comput- ing ecosystem. Yet, we know little about smartphone users and their security behaviors. In this paper, we report our de- velopment and testing of a new 14-item Smartphone Security Behavioral Scale (SSBS) which provides a measurement of users’ smartphone security behavior considering both tech- nical and social strategies. For example, a technical strategy would be resetting the advertising ID while a social strategy would be downloading mobile applications only from an offi- cial source.The initial analysis of two-component behavioral model, based on technical versus social protection strategies, demonstrates high reliability and good fit for the social com- ponent of the behavioral scale. The technical component of the scale, which has theoretical significance, shows a marginal fit and could benefit from further improvement. This newly de- veloped measure of smartphone security behavior is inspired by the theory of planned behavior and draws inspiration from a well-known scale of cybersecurity behavioral intention, the Security Behavior Intention Scale (SeBIS). The psychomet- rics of SSBS were established by surveying 1011 participants. We believe SSBS measures can enhance the understanding of human security behavior for both security researchers and HCI designers.

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