A Model for Making NTFS Permissions Setting More Usable

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Mina Izadi Firouz-Abadi
Nasser Ghassem- Aghaei


Previous Studies have shown that computer users are always struggling with access control settings. On one hand, home users are generally inexperienced and are not patient enough with complicated interfaces and even with training in this area. On the other hand, NTFS permission setting of Windows XP is error prone and very hard. Typically usability means ease of use. This paper, for the purpose of making NTFS permission setting more usable for users, has proposed a rule-based expert system which uses fuzzy concepts and certainty factors. The system, called FACSA gets information about file/folder and username/group name which user wants to set permissions for. Then assert them to its knowledgebase and shows the result to the user followed by a percentage of certainty. The highest percentage will be advised to the user. If the user agrees with it, this access right will be set automatically. In this way, the probability of the users' faults is decreased and decision making for specifying access rights becomes easier for users. Two systems were evaluated in a user study: file permission setting of Windows and FACSA. The latter was found to be more usable; the mean of usability measured for FACSA is 2.2 more than that of Windows, and also the mean of time users spent on completion of tasks in FACSA is 2.25 minutes less than that of Windows. Moreover, whereas only 66.7 percent of users were able to complete their task with Windows, 100 percent of them completed it successfully using FACSA.

Keywords: security; usability; NTFS permissions; rule-based expert system; access control; fuzzy concepts; certainty factor.


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