"I’m Surprised So Much Is Connected": A Study on Users’ Online Accounts

Sven Hammann, Michael Crabb, Saša Radomirović, Ralf Sasse, David Basin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)
159 Downloads (Pure)


A person's online security setup is tied to the security of their individual accounts. Some accounts are particularly critical as they provide access to other online services. For example, an email account can be used for external account recovery or to assist with single-sign-on. The connections between accounts are specific to each user's setup and create unique security problems that are difficult to remedy by following generic security advice. In this paper, we develop a method to gather and analyze users' online accounts systematically. We demonstrate this in a user study with 20 participants and obtain detailed insights on how users' personal setup choices and behaviors affect their overall account security. We discuss concrete usability and privacy concerns that prevented our participants from improving their account security. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations for service providers and security experts to increase the adoption of security best practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391573
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2022
EventCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 13 Apr 202214 Apr 2022

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


ConferenceCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Internet address


  • Security and privacy
  • aspects of security and privacy
  • Human-centered computing
  • User studies
  • Account Graph
  • security setup
  • user interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of '"I’m Surprised So Much Is Connected": A Study on Users’ Online Accounts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this