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On Security for Humans

June 29, 2013

I wish it weren’t so, but security practitioners and their results haven’t always been popular with the people who use the systems that they create and manage.  Few humans, e.g., are delighted by mandates to create, remember, and enter large numbers of long, unique, and non-mnemonic passwords, even though (small consolation?) that probably remains an easier task than performing strong mental cryptography. It seems alienating and presumptuous to declare that acceptable practice requires unrealistic behavior, rather than providing technologies that offer strong security without burdening users.  After all, machines are supposed to serve people, not the other way around.

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