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One size does not fit all: A grounded theory and online survey study of developer preferences for securitywarning types

 
: Danilova, A.; Naiakshina, A.; Smith, M.

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Fulltext ()

Rothermel, G.:
42nd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE 2020. Proceedings : 27 June -19 July 2020 Seoul, South Korea
New York: ACM, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-45037-121-6
pp.136-148
International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) <42, 2020, Online>
English
Conference Paper, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FKIE ()

Abstract
A wide range of tools exist to assist developers in creating secure software. Many of these tools, such as static analysis engines or security checkers included in compilers, use warnings to communicate security issues to developers. The effectiveness of these tools relies on developers heeding these warnings, and there are many ways in which these warnings could be displayed. Johnson et al. [46] conducted qualitative research and found that warning presentation and integration are main issues. We built on Johnson et al.'s work and examined what developers want from security warnings, including what form they should take and how they should integrate into their workflow and work context. To this end, we conducted a Grounded Theory study with 14 professional software developers and 12 computer science students as well as a focus group with 7 academic researchers to gather qualitative insights. To back up the theory developed from the qualitative research, we ran a quanti tative survey with 50 professional software developers. Our results show that there is significant heterogeneity amongst developers and that no one warning type is preferred over all others. The context in which the warnings are shown is also highly relevant, indicating that it is likely to be beneficial if IDEs and other development tools become more flexible in their warning interactions with developers. Based on our findings, we provide concrete recommendations for both future research as well as how IDEs and other security tools can improve their interaction with developers.

: http://publica.fraunhofer.de/documents/N-614635.html