Assessing the Understandability and Acceptance of Attack-Defense Trees for Modelling Security Requirements

Giovanna Broccia, Maurice H. ter Beek, Alberto Lluch Lafuente, Paola Spoletini, Alessio Ferrari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Context and Motivation Attack-Defense Trees (ADTs) are a graphical notation used to model and assess security requirements. ADTs are widely popular, as they can facilitate communication between different stakeholders involved in system security evaluation, and they are formal enough to be verified, e.g., with model checkers.Question/Problem While the quality of this notation has been primarily assessed quantitatively, its understandability has never been evaluated despite being mentioned as a key factor for its success.Principal idea/Results In this paper, we conduct an experiment with 25 human subjects to assess the understandability and user acceptance of the ADT notation. The study focuses on performance-based variables and perception-based variables, with the aim of evaluating the relationship between these measures and how they might impact the practical use of the notation. The results confirm a good level of understandability of ADTs. Participants consider them useful, and they show intention to use them. Contribution This is the first study empirically supporting the understandability of ADTs, thereby contributing to the theory of security requirements engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 30th International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality
Volume14588
PublisherSpringer
Publication date2024
Pages39-56
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-57326-2
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-57327-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Event30th International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality - Winterthur, Switzerland
Duration: 8 Apr 202411 Apr 2024

Conference

Conference30th International Working Conference on Requirements Engineering: Foundation for Software Quality
Country/TerritorySwitzerland
CityWinterthur
Period08/04/202411/04/2024

Keywords

  • Security requirements
  • Attack-Defense Trees
  • Understandability evaluation
  • Empirical user study
  • Method Evaluation Model

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