Are You Ready to Lock? Understanding User Motivations for Smartphone Locking Behaviors

TitleAre You Ready to Lock? Understanding User Motivations for Smartphone Locking Behaviors
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsEgelman, S., Jain S., Pottenger R., Liao K., Consolvo S., & Wagner D.
Other Numbers3722

In addition to storing a plethora of sensitive personal and workinformation, smartphones also store sensor data about users andtheir daily activities. In order to understand users’ behaviors andattitudes towards the security of their smartphone data, we conducted 28 qualitative interviews. We examined why users choose(or choose not) to employ locking mechanisms (e.g., PINs) andtheir perceptions and awareness about the sensitivity of the datastored on their devices. We performed two additional online experiments to quantify our interview results and the extent to which sensitive data could be found in a user’s smartphone-accessible emailarchive. We observed a strong correlation between use of security features and risk perceptions, which indicates rational behavior. However, we also observed that most users likely underestimate the extent to which data stored on their smartphones pervadestheir identities, online and offline.


This work was partially supported by funding provided through National Science Foundation grant CNS : 1318680 (“A Choice Architecture for Mobile Privacy and Security”) and by Intel through possible by Intel through the ISTC for Secure Computing. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors or originators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or Intel.

Bibliographic Notes

Proceedings of the 21st ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ACM CCS), Scottsdale, Arizona

Abbreviated Authors

S. Egelman, S. Jain, R. Pottenger, K. Liao, S. Consolvo, and D. Wagner

ICSI Research Group

Usable Security and Privacy

ICSI Publication Type

Article in conference proceedings