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Harris Corp. Funds Tech Internet Pop-­p Security Research

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Harris Corp. will fund a Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) study on the decisions people make when they see pop-up messages while Internet browsing. Researchers will use eye trackers to analyze volunteers' eye movements. They also will study their facial expressions and postures. While participants browse, their actions will be filmed so the researchers can analyze how long it takes them to see the pop-up message, process it, and decide what to do about it.

Pop-up messages, while treated as minor annoyances, can jeopardize computer safety, as they can install viruses onto a victim's computer without consent. "We believe that most people treat computer security not as a primary issue but as something incidental," says FIT professor of experimental cognition Gisela Susanne Bahr. "The goal of this work is to quantify how much perceptual and cognitive resources people spend on pop-ups and, ultimately, to help users make smart security decisions." The study will be led by Bahr and computer science professor Richard Ford.

From Florida Institute of Technology
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