Improving Usability of Security API’s (Application Programming Interface)

Program Code: 

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage


Description of Work: 

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project surrounding the concept of improving usability of security APIs (Application Programming Interface).

This project aims to develop a systematic approach to evaluate the usability of security APIs. Programmers make use of security APIs created by the API developers during their software development tasks within the organization. However, they have a lack of security expertise in most cases. Researchers and industry experts have stressed the mantra of "The User is the Enemy" in the computer systems security. On the other hand, security APIs research has been treated the programmer as the enemy in the banking industry. This is mainly because programmers concentrate solely on protecting secrets (e.g. developing encryption keys) of the APIs. However, there is a lack of research investigating how programmers make use of security APIs in the software development process. It is imperative to increase the security of the software application developed as well as the libraries utilized in the software development process.

Applicants of exceptional research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra. Further information about the available Scholarships and how to apply, is available at:

Skills Required:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asank.

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). He holds a PhD in Usable Security from the Brunel University London, UK where he developed a game design framework to protect computer users against “phishing attacks”. His research is inter-disciplinary in nature and has published numerous articles at reputed international conferences and journals. Apart from his academic career, Nalin has also worked on a number of software engineering roles ranging from Programmer, Software Engineer and IT Manager.