Conditioned-Safe Ceremonies and a User Study of an Application to Web Authentication

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Executive Summary

The authors introduce the notion of a conditioned-safe ceremony. A "Ceremony" is similar to the conventional notion of a protocol, except that a ceremony explicitly includes human participants. The formulation of a conditioned-safe ceremony draws on several ideas and lessons learned from the human factors and human reliability community: forcing functions, defense in depth, and the use of human tendencies, such as rule-based decision making. They propose design principles for building conditioned-safe ceremonies and apply these principles to develop a registration ceremony for machine authentication based on email. They evaluated the email registration ceremony with a user study of 200 participants.

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