Decision justifications for wireless network selection

Debora Jeske*, Lynne Coventry, Pam Briggs

*Corresponding author for this work

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

7 Citations (Scopus)


A number of security risks are associated with the selection of wireless networks. We examined wireless network choices in a study involving 104 undergraduate social science students. One research goal was to examine the extent to which features (such as padlocks) and colours could be used to 'nudge' individuals towards more secure network and away from open (unsecured) network options. Another goal was to better understand the basis for their decision-making. Using qualitative as well as quantitative data, we were able to differentiate groups whose decision were driven by security concerns, those who made convenience-based decisions, and those whose motives were unclear or undefined. These groups made different network choices, in part due to different perceived functionality of the padlock. We further observed significant effects for the use of colour when nudging participants towards more secure choices. We also wanted to examine the role of individual differences in relation to the choices individuals make. Perceived controllability of risk played a role in terms of the extent to which participants would make more secure vs. Unsecure choices, although we obtained no significant group differences when we examined these variables in relation to the different decision justification groups. This indicates that perceived risk perceptions and reasons for decisions may relate differently to the actual behavioural choices individuals make, with perceptions of risk not necessarily relating to the reasons that participants consider when making security decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 4th Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust, STAST 2014 - Co-located with 27th IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium (CSF) in the Vienna Summer of Logic 2014
EditorsGiampaolo Bella, Gabriele Lenzini
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781479979011
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust - Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 18 Jul 201418 Jul 2014
Conference number: 4th

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2325-1689
ISSN (Electronic)2325-1697


Conference4th International Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust
Abbreviated titleSTAST 2014
Internet address


  • User perception
  • Security
  • Padlock
  • Usability


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