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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Usable Security by University of Maryland, College Park

4.6
stars
2,535 ratings
627 reviews

About the Course

This course focuses on how to design and build secure systems with a human-centric focus. We will look at basic principles of human-computer interaction, and apply these insights to the design of secure systems with the goal of developing security measures that respect human performance and their goals within a system....

Top reviews

IR
Jun 20, 2016

I like how in depth this gets. it explains it very well an in ways for people who are starting off in this field to get a basic understanding in exactly what we are learning. very well put together!

DG
Jun 28, 2016

Despite not being very fond of areas such as human-computer interaction, I found this course to be well-presented and useful. Definitely a necessity for anyone planning on building secure software.

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576 - 600 of 615 Reviews for Usable Security

By Tom G

Jul 13, 2018

Some good info, but the course needs to be updated to correct long known mistakes.

By Mian A J

Aug 10, 2020

Content was a little boring. Secondly, Voice quality wasn't up to the mark.

By Daniel K P

Oct 20, 2019

Needs more content ; present course repeats

information, too often

By Andrew A

Oct 10, 2020

The content is good, It partially outdated being made in ~2013

By Giulio B

Jul 25, 2020

Very little useful information

By Alberto R

Nov 21, 2016

Useful concepts. Quite simple.

By KALLURI R R

Aug 11, 2020

not interesting

By Mitch H

Sep 29, 2020

low quality

By Abner G

Dec 1, 2016

This course is about "good practices" for user interface design. If this is what you are looking for it may be worth your time, just be aware that the "production" (quality) of the videos is among the worst courses I have taken in Coursera. On the other hand, if you are looking for a heavy Cybersecurity related course I suggest you to stay away from this one, unless you are taking the specialization in which case you don't have other choice.

Content: 2.5/5

Videos Quality: 1/5

Practice/Theory ratio: 1/5

By Ronald S

Sep 21, 2017

I did this entire course in about 25 minutes without watching the videos or reading anything. I would bet a person with general common sense could pass this. I had more trouble figuring out that received input in Python is always taken in the form of a string and must by converted into a floating point number or integer than I had passing this entire course. I'm not sure why this is in a cyber security track.

By Daniel S

Oct 31, 2020

Course content could have been much more compact in my opinion. The topic is not complicated to understand but the videos are very long and need a lot of time to watch. Test at the end is only multiple choice with many True/False questions -> when you select the wrong solution you will see what's correct very easily, so it's easy to pass without understanding the topic really.

By HJ B

Jun 20, 2020

Needs some serious revision. Lots of errors (e.g. week 2 summary of Cranor study completely botched), audio issues (loudness variability), quizzes (e.g., week 2 asks questions from week 3, questions/answers frequently imprecise), etc.

By Tim B

Mar 22, 2017

There are many parts of the lectures that are very quiet and even with my speakers turned to max, I struggled to hear, while other parts were clear. The course is interesting, but I doubt that anyone would pay to attend this course.

By Matas W

Mar 1, 2018

A large amount of this really didn't seem focused on Security. A large part was UX. The Quiz for week 2 contained a lot of material that wasn't covered until the following week.

By Dimitrios D

Oct 13, 2020

Very professional approach, but a bit lower level than expected. In addition the audio could be of better quality, in some presentations.

By Roger A

Jan 13, 2019

I have learn small about security and some basics about design, perhaps this training should be renamed to "design" instead security....

By Vitor G

Mar 3, 2020

I was expecting a technical course, and this is more about concepts of usability.

By Youssef S A M

Aug 14, 2018

i think that this course doesn't have the importance that i thought i would find.

By Anurag P

Nov 9, 2020

Needs an immediate update.

A significant portion of the course was unnecessary.

By Justin W

Jun 5, 2016

Reasonable class about designing user interfaces, not much about cybersecurity.

By Benjamin H

Mar 31, 2020

Most of the course content simply states commen sens facts

By Haochen L

Dec 5, 2016

I did not learn a lot.

By Rene v h

Feb 22, 2020

Good starter cource.

By Aslam K

Jun 16, 2016

This was an extremely elementary and thus disappointing course. While the importance of "Usability" was rightly emphasized, the representation in terms of examples, case studies, etc. was simplistic. I appreciated having my attention drawn to the pitfalls of HCI design and the consequent failure of the corresponding systems. However, the solutions were presented as if: 1.) there are always "correct" interface/usability choices; 2.) the "correct" choice is all that's needed for the system to be optimally functional; and 3.) there is never a tension between usability and effective functioning of a system (that can't be resolved with correcting the usability).

It is irresponsible to suggest, for example, that a user selected memorable password is generally adequately secure without also covering ways that an interface can guide/nudge the user to create a secure password. Wide recognition of the importance of this may be more recent than the studies covered in the course. There is nothing wrong with studying old, seminal research, even in this age of "Internet time," but I wish I wasn't left wondering what, if any, developments had occurred in the decade or so since that research took place.

As for tension between usability and security, it absolutely exists. For instance, PGP encryption is a reliable way to secure information, yet making it usable remains a challenge. This is not even mentioned in the entire course. In fact, this course would leave an otherwise uninformed student believing that there are usability solutions waiting to be applied to every cause of info insecurity if the techies would just look. I wish the course had at least acknowledged that there are cases where a slight compromise on usability might be necessary for the sake of appropriate security.

Lastly, for those designing an HCI for security, it is important to understand threat models. This concept is also missing from the course.

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I reviewed this course (above) immediately after I finished it. I am now in the 3rd week of Software Security, the 2nd course in the Cybersecurity specialization, and am realizing that 2 stars was a generous assessment. Based on the prerequisites of the Software Security course, the Usable Security course, in its current form, is too elementary to be appropriate for people who have the experience/knowledge required for the rest of the courses in this specialization. As I explained above, the course relies heavily on decade-old research but does not cover any developments since. For instance, the usability issues covered in the studies are for ancient versions of browsers with no discussion of how the browsers and our infosec vulnerabilities have changed since those studies were published. Another example is the instructor's eschewing of password managers while many knowledgeable folks in the infosec community today recommend their use. The usability challenges of password managers and a discussion of how they might be mitigated would have been more appropriate.

By Carina B

Feb 24, 2017

I am having a very difficult time finishing this course. I find the topic dull and the content uninteresting. It is the first course of the CyberSecurity Specialization .. I hope the other courses are not like this.

I rated it one star for a couple of reasons.

1- I have been in software for many years and I know about software design. I would NOT have expected to have a weeks long course on software design and usability when my desire is to learn about software security. I understand its importance, but this course should be part of a UI design course, NOT in a technical CyberSecurity specialization IMO.

2 - the course is all about theory, not about practical matters. Let's admit it - today's security software is not for the uninformed/experienced. Given this, again, I feel this course would be better served in another specialization about UI Design or for software design best-practices.

That is my .02. I am moving onto other courses before finishing the Usability Security..... I am aware that I will have to complete this course to get my certification. This alone will discourage me from purchasing a specialization in the future.