LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, leading security researchers, Dropbox, Google, and the Open Technology Fund announce Simply Secure, a new organization focused on making open source security tools simpler and easier for people to use.
While consumer-facing security tools exist and are technically effective, they often have low adoption rates because they’re inconvenient or too confusing for the average person to operate. Even well-known features like two-factor authentication, offered by many online services, are not widely used.
The need to overcome this challenge is particularly clear in the wake of events like the recent celebrity photo leak and the Snowden revelations. No matter how effective security technologies are, people will not use them unless they become more accessible and easier to understand. We need simpler options for stronger security, available at our fingertips.
Simply Secure will bring some of the best minds in security, user interaction research and design together to dedicate resources and brainpower to solving this problem.
Led by Director Sara Sinclair Brody, the organization will work with the open source community to develop tools that make it easy for people without advanced technical knowledge to choose better security without sacrificing usability.
“Simply Secure represents an exciting opportunity to bring together diverse groups in pursuit of an important goal: making security and privacy tools more user-friendly. This transparent, community-focused approach is new, and represents a compelling adaptation of the open-source model to interaction design. Usable security has been a passion of mine for the past ten years, and I'm thrilled to be leading such a wide-ranging and well-supported initiative.” Sara Sinclair Brody, Director of Simply Secure
“Giving users a delightful experience while safeguarding their data is a core value at Dropbox. We are excited to join with Simply Secure to help bring secure, usable tools and applications to the world.” Devdatta Akhawe, Security Engineer at Dropbox
"If technology is secure but impossible to use, is it really secure? It’s a challenge to provide proven, open source tools to the public in ways that meet their high expectations and modern use cases. With its clear mission, an exceptional board, and a community-focused approach, we believe Simply Secure can bring us much closer to a world in which ubiquitous security is the norm." Meredith Whittaker, Open Source Research Lead, Google
“Privacy-technologies have come a long way in the lab, but they need to be made accessible and usable by end-users. Simply Secure will bring together developers, designers and users to ensure simple daily tasks can be made private, without increasing their complexity.” George Danezis, Reader in Security and Privacy Engineering, University College London
“All of us, no matter what our level of technical expertise, need privacy. Simply Secure collects together some very bright usability and cryptography experts with the aim of revamping the user interface of the Internet's favorite privacy tools. More importantly, Simply Secure's *process* for attaining, testing and refining usability is the main product of its work. This process will be documented and published as a set of best practices for other organizations, whether they are for-profits or non-profits, creating a framework that anyone can use to make secure products easier for everyone.” Cory Doctorow, Author and activist
“Encryption-based solutions could provide effective protection against threats that affect ordinary users: phishing, keylogging, eavesdropping. But most security solutions are security measures are ineffective because they are too complex or time-consuming - so people make mistakes and give up. That does not mean they don't want effective protection - people prefer to use the Internet and mobile services without constant worries. Simply Secure will create solutions that provide effective protection, so users can have peace-of-mind without mental gymnastics or constant tedious housekeeping tasks.” Angela Sasse, Head of Information Security Research, Director of the Science of Cyber Security Research Institute, University College London
“Communications security is a systems property. Usability is a critical element of that system, since security features that get in the way can't help those who don't use them. I look forward to working with Simply Secure to build and share usable security practices more widely.” Wendy Seltzer, Policy Counsel to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) & Visiting Fellow with Yale Law School's Information Society Project