Improving the Usability of Security Testing Tools

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 of improving usability of security testing tools.

A number of authentication and authorization protocols have been introduced to protect user privacy in software system. With the increased adoption of such protocols, so far there is little work on investigating usability of security testing tools. The usability aspect is considered mostly for the protocol itself, but not for the security testing tools that are used to ensure the system, which is safe enough to be publicly exposed. There are security testing tools developed having common usability issues.

In this research, various security testing tools that are used for testing authentication and authorization protocols would be considered to identify common design issues that have caused usability problems. Feedback will be taken from users during the experimental studies and improvements are suggested to fix the usability problems in security testing tools. Furthermore, it is expected to improve the tools by fixing these issues and evaluate again with the users for validating their suggestions. Based on the findings, a set of design guidelines is introduced for developers adhere to enhance the usability and security of testing tools.

Applicants with excellent research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales. Further information regarding 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 Asanka.


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.