Monday, October 30, 2006

At 30, crypto still lacks usability, experts say

Usabiltiy now the barrier to employing cryptography for comuters ...

"Government controls held back cryptography in the past, but today, it's usability that blocks adoption, a panel of experts said Thursday.

At an event here celebrating 30 years of public key cryptography, several top minds in the field gathered for a trip down memory lane. Over the years, public key cryptography has grown from an idea in a paper published by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, both present at the event, to technology used in everyday transactions on the Web.

... "There has been a complete flip recognizing that encryption is here to help us," Boneh said.

Yet cryptography hasn't become as commonly used as some might have hoped, the panel noted. Web transactions might be encrypted, but a lot of data and communications still are not.

The issue, Snow said, is products. "The remaining issue that is big today on the plate is lack of quality in the products," he said, adding that security products are poorly designed and often not in a secure way.

... "In the early years, we as an industry could blame the system for controlling the pace of innovation because the government was throwing up roadblocks," Ozzie said. "At this moment in time, it's laziness on the part of the industry in terms of not embracing architecture and the importance of human interface in design of secure systems."    (Continued via CNET News)    [Usability Resources]

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