My previous design problem statement was “Online security needs to be less obtrusive in order to work efficiently”. Initially my thoughts were that at the moment, security measures hinder a user’s experience online. Looking at this problem I saw that security measures such as passwords could either become more obstructive; like the way a home has two doors to open as opposed to one. Or it could become integrated in a more seamless manner; like the way new cars automatically open electronically when the key is in close proximity as opposed to physically opening the door with the key.
Upon explaining my idea to my peers I found out that my proposition was quite problematic. I was looking at the issue too speculatively where the issue was quite arguable as well. Upon hearing this from peers I began to look at my problem statement in a more simplified manner and had taken away that there are two users involved in online security when using internet devices; ill-informed users and well-informed users. This led to me thinking of how to lessen that divide with the possible change being to educate users.
One approach I had then thought of was a simplified way where a user can learn and educate themselves on the topic. The outcome may have been an e-dictionary or handbook that quickly and effectively gave information to the reader about unfamiliar terms or dangers that can occur when the reader is online on their devices. A consideration that I then made was that would anyone really read the handbook or dictionary before they use their online device? Thinking about this I then came to my current proposal of an application that works as it happens instead of before it happens.
Obi – The Protector
There is a very small proportion of online device users who are aware of the vulnerabilities revolving around online privacy. A well informed user has knowledge that lets them protect themselves from unauthorised access to their information or data by altering the way they access their devices. To the average user, their main solution is security software. An issue with this software is that the first is that the user has to have enough knowledge to know it is a necessity for their device and the second is that though it protects a user’s device, the user is never well informed about what the software really does and how it does it.
It will be beneficial for a user to be educated and informed of how their behaviour online can affect vulnerabilities. The possible change is for security software to not only protect a user’s actions online but to also notify them in a conversational tone of what it’s protecting the user against and how or why it is doing so.
As most vulnerabilities occur through online internet browsing, a plugin or program may be created that acts as a companion while browsing the web. Current security systems usually leave the user ill-informed of what the security software has actually done. For example, when a user accidentally downloads malware, antivirus software would usually just automatically remove it with a message along the lines of “virus.exe has been quarantined from your system”. The Obi plugin would be an alternative security program that does do the same thing but at the same time aims to educate the user on what has happened. So for example Obi might say what the virus could have done to the user’s device, where the user accidentally downloaded the virus from and what they can do to prevent it in the future. Obi will be given a light-hearted and conversational tone as an attempt to make security software more user friendly and less foreign to the general public.