Hello Joseph and Kat

You’ve already met Gus, and we’re looking forward to introducing you to Maina, the other Fellow that Simply Secure is hosting under the auspices of Open Tech Fund’s Secure Usability Fellowship Program.

Ours are not the only SUFP fellows, however – the EFF has been hosting Joseph Bonneau since the start of this year, and Kat Krol started recently as a SUFP Fellow at University College London. We hope to share more about their research later in the year, but in the meantime, here are their introductions, in their own words! (And remember, if you’d like to catch up with any of the Fellows, share your work with them, or ask about what they’re up to, you can find them all on our Slack channel. Email us for an invite!)

Joseph Bonneau, SUFP Fellow at EFF

I'm Joseph Bonneau and I'm a Secure Usability Fellow working at both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Stanford. I started in February 2015. My main goals are to improve the state of the art of secure messaging with user-centered cryptographic architectures. In particular, on the EFF side I'm working on improving the EFF's Secure Messaging Scorecard and starting next steps of the Campaign for Secure and Usable Crypto. At Stanford I'm doing technical work on the CONIKS project to build user-verifiable public key directories for secure messaging tools.

My background is in cryptography and computer security. I earned my PhD from the University of Cambridge as well as BS and MS degrees in Computer Science from Stanford. I've worked at Google, Yahoo, and Cryptography Research, Inc. and last year I was a fellow at Princeton University's Center for Information Technology Policy. My research has spanned many topics including passwords and user authentication, cryptocurrencies, HTTPS and web security, privacy in social networks and side-channel cryptanalysis. I also taught the first courses on cryptocurrencies in the past year (both in-person at Princeton and an online MOOC). In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors, triathlons and pub trivia.

Kat Krol, SUFP Fellow at UCL

My name is Kat Krol. I'm a final year PhD student at University College London, UK. In my PhD research, I look at the role of effort in users' security and privacy decisions online. I'm passionate about conducting user studies of various kinds, always aiming to combine quantitative data with qualitative feedback from participants.

Today, design and computing are all about fulfilling users' every need and want, providing interactions that are pleasurable and seamlessly integrate with their lives. Security is absolutely at odds with this – it disrupts users' natural workflow, asks them to heed every warning, check URLs and create complex passwords. The aim of my research is to contribute towards usable security and privacy that are contextually sensitive to human capabilities, needs and preferences.

During my fellowship, I will be focusing on tools for secure instant messaging looking at their usability and adoption. There is so much technically excellent encryption software out there, that has not been widely adopted due to poor usability and/or a mismatch between what the technology offers and what the users need. I'm excited about the first steps, in which I will be conducting focus groups with users of selected messaging apps to learn about their perspective.


Why Hello, World!

We're here to make security easy and fun. Internet software links us to our friends, allows us to transact across oceans, and forms a digital space for culture and society. Because these technologies provide forums for sensitive discourse and expression, we are all concerned about their security and privacy – but don’t always know what to do about it. In fact, when security-enhancing functionality exists, it often seems to add an extra layer of complexity.

Simply Secure's Growing Team

Happy Spring! Like so much in the northern hemisphere, our blog and Twitter stream have been largely dormant for a while – but we’ve been behind the scenes getting ready for a season of tremendous growth. Since we announced Simply Secure in the fall, we’ve become formally established as a legal entity, interviewed and hired an exceptional staff, and fleshed out our plans for partnering with open-source organizations to make secure-communication tools more usable.

Happy New Year from Simply Secure: 2019 Reflections

2019 year in review