Vulnerabilities persist despite existing software security initiatives and best practices. This paper focuses on the human factors of software security, including human behaviour and motivation. We conducted an online survey to explore the interplay between developers and software security processes, e.g., we looked into how developers influence and are influenced by these processes. Our data included responses from 123 software developers currently employed in North America who work on various types of software applications. Whereas developers are often held responsible for security vulnerabilities, our analysis shows that the real issues frequently stem from a lack of organizational or process support to handle security throughout development tasks. Our participants are self-motivated towards software security, and the majority did not dismiss it but identified obstacles to achieving secure code. Our work highlights the need to look beyond the individual, and take a holistic approach to investigate organizational issues influencing software security.

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2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
School of Computer Science

Assal, H. (Hala), & Chiasson, S. (2019). “Think secure from the beginning”: A survey with software developers. In Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings. doi:10.1145/3290605.3300519