PhD position in usable mobile security at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK

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The Interactive and Trustworthy Technologies Group (ITT) at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh is seeking candidates for a PhD position focusing on understanding the similarities and differences in designing secure and usable applications and systems for mobile devices. The PhD student will be based at Heriot-Watt University campus in Edinburgh, UK, however some short periods (approx 3-4 weeks) of travel to India and other travel will be required. This will be needed in order to help with gathering requirements, pilot testing and end user evaluations with stake holders and end users.This work will be in collaboration with and supported by Microsoft Research.  

This PhD involves utilising informed ethnographies and extending concepts from Participatory Design to understand how working people interact with mobile payment apps, and the particular security and privacy vulnerabilities to which they are exposed. Most security software and privacy design was initially created for PCs and then only later evolved/retrofitted to mobile phones. As a result, are these security measures, warnings and expected interaction well designed for mobile phones and for different cultures? Once an understanding is gained of how people interact with mobile payment apps and the particular security and privacy vulnerabilities to which they are exposed we would expect the student to design, develop, test and deploy trustworthy solutions that seamlessly support their protection. The position will commence in January 2017. 

Funding

This is a 3 year, fully funded position and the student would receive a stipend (scholarship) of £14,296 per annum plus have their tuition fees paid for the duration of the 3 year programme..

Location

The successful candidate will be joining the Interactive and Trustworthy Technologies Group (ITT) which is based in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Position overview

The PhD student will work with the Director of Studies (Lynne Baillie, HW ) an expert in Mobile Interaction Design, a usable security expert (Mike Just, HW ) and an expert in ethno-methodologies to inform the design of technologies for emerging markets (Jacki O’Neill, Microsoft Research ) to understand the similarities and differences in designing secure and usable applications and systems for mobile devices in two different countries (India and UK). The applicant should hold or expect to gain at least a good 2.1 Honours or Masters Degree in Computing or Software Engineering with a strong knowledge of programming.

Application

To apply please undertake the two steps below:

Step 1. Submit the following materials by email to Lynne Baillie ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). All materials should be contained in a single pdf file.

• A statement of interest describing your relevant background and skills, and why you are interested in this position.

• A current curriculum vitae.

• The name and contact information for two referees.

• One writing sample, e.g. a recent publication or final project thesis.

Step 2. Fill out the online application form: http://www.hw.ac.uk/student-life/how-to-apply/postgraduate.htm

The closing date for applications is November 25th 2016.