Professor M. Angela Sasse to give the 6th Karen Spärck Jones Lecture 25 May 2016

Karen Spärck Jones lecture
When: 25th May 2016, 17:30 – 25th May 2016, 21:00
Where: BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA
Town/City: London
Organiser: BCS Academy of Computing
Price: Free
Booking Link:

The Karen Spärck Jones lecture is an annual event that honours women in computing research. The event is to be held on Wednesday 25 May 2016 at the BCS headquarters in London. This lecture series builds on the activities to celebrate, inform and support women engaged in computing. These include the annual London Hopper, providing networking opportunities for early career researchers, and the Lovelace Colloquium, for women undergraduates in computing and related subjects.

This is the 6th Karen Spärck Jones lecture, and will be given by Prof Sasse, who is the Professor of Human-Centred Technology at UCL, and Director of the UK Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security (RISCS).


5.30pm Registration, coffee/tea and biscuits
6.00pm Karen Spärck Jones Lecture
7.30pm Drinks and Buffet Reception
9.00pm Close
Lecture: Mind the many skills gaps: why we keep creating unworkable security

Within less than 2 decades, the Internet and mobile communications have become an integral part of business and people’s lives. Most transactions are now carried out online, and criminals have followed ‘because that’s where the money is’. Security specialists develop policies and security mechanisms to stop them, but find in practice that people make mistakes, or don’t comply with the instructions on what (not) to do. They blame people for not understanding the risks and see ‘security education’ of staff and the general public as the answer.

But research over the past decade has shown many ‘best practice’ security policies and mechanisms are unworkable and ineffective. This lecture identifies the gaps in understanding and skills between business owners, software designers and developers, and security specialists that led to those solutions – silo thinking, diffusion of responsibility, and failure to measure effectiveness – and identify the knowledge and skills they need to avoid repeating them. And finally, what knowledge and skills consumers and citizen need to stay safe online.

About the Lecturer

M. Angela Sasse FREng is the Professor of Human-Centred Technology in the Department of Computer Science at University College London, UK. She read psychology in Germany and obtained an MSc in Occupational Psychology from Sheffield University before obtaining a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Birmingham. She started investigating the causes and effects of usability issues with security mechanisms in 1996. Her 1999 seminal paper with her then Phd student Anne Adams, Users are Not the Enemy, is the most cited paper in usable security. She became a full professor in 2003, and has led several multi-disciplinary projects, working with economists, mathematicians and crime scientists. She worked with many international companies and received Faculty Awards from Intel in 2012 and IBM in 2013. She became Director of the UK Research Institute for Science of Cyber Security (RISCS), co-funded by the EPSRC and GCHQ in 2012, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2015.