Adopting password manager applications among smartphone users

Alkaldi, Nora Abdullah (2019) Adopting password manager applications among smartphone users. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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People use weak passwords for a variety of reasons, the most prescient of these being memory load and inconvenience. The motivation to choose weak passwords is even more compelling on smartphones because entering complex passwords is particularly time consuming and arduous on small devices. Password managers are a potential solution to the password conundrum, but it is unfortunate that these applications have not enjoyed widespread adoption.
This thesis investigated the adoption of password manager applications and filled an important gap in the human-centric and information security literature. It concentrated on end users’ perceptions, the factors that influence the adoption decisions of password managers and how to encourage them to adopt these tools.
The thesis begins with an exploratory study to investigate the current state of password manager adoption and to understand the reasons that impede or encourage the adoption of password managers. Qualitative data was collected and the data was analysed using Grounded Theory. This study found that the adoption process of password managers goes through six stages. Accordingly, recommendations were suggested to improve the adoption of password manager applications.
The factors that influence the intention to adopt a password manager were next identified and empirically validated using migration theory as a theoretical foundation. These factors were identified based on interviews with smartphone users, resulting in a proposed migration model. The proposed model was then tested quantitatively with smartphone users. Structural Equation Model (SEM) analysis found that users’ dissatisfaction with their password-coping behaviours, and their perception of the usefulness and the effectiveness of password managers positively influenced their intention to adopt a password manager. On the other hand, users’ perceived risk of using password managers, and the cost of setting up these tools, deterred the intention to adopt. Also, the result confirmed the positive influence of social influence (Descriptive norms) on adoption intention.
Finally, the thesis presents an investigation into the impact of a recommender application that harnessed the tenets of self-determination theory to encourage the adoption of password managers. This theory argues that meeting a person’s autonomy, relatedness and competence needs will make them more likely to act. To test the power of meeting these needs, a factorial experiment was conducted, in the wild. Each of the three self-determination factors and all individual combinations thereof were satisfied, and the short-term adoption of password managers was observed (i.e. the installation of a password manager). When all the self-determination factors were satisfied, adoption was highest, while meeting only the autonomy or relatedness needs individually significantly improved the likelihood of adoption.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: King Saud University scholarship.
Keywords: Password manager.
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
Supervisor's Name: Mackenzie, Dr. Lewis
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Mrs Nora Alkaldi
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-74359
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2019 11:03
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 07:32
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.74359
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