Security Awareness of End-Users of Mobile Health Applications: An Empirical Study

08/29/2020
by   Bakheet Aljedaani, et al.
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Mobile systems offer portable and interactive computing, empowering users, to exploit a multitude of context-sensitive services, including mobile healthcare. Mobile health applications (i.e., mHealth apps) are revolutionizing the healthcare sector by enabling stakeholders to produce and consume healthcare services. A widespread adoption of mHealth technologies and rapid increase in mHealth apps entail a critical challenge, i.e., lack of security awareness by end-users regarding health-critical data. This paper presents an empirical study aimed at exploring the security awareness of end-users of mHealth apps. We collaborated with two mHealth providers in Saudi Arabia to gather data from 101 end-users. The results reveal that despite having the required knowledge, end-users lack appropriate behaviour , i.e., reluctance or lack of understanding to adopt security practices, compromising health-critical data with social, legal, and financial consequences. The results emphasize that mHealth providers should ensure security training of end-users (e.g., threat analysis workshops), promote best practices to enforce security (e.g., multi-step authentication), and adopt suitable mHealth apps (e.g., trade-offs for security vs usability). The study provides empirical evidence and a set of guidelines about security awareness of mHealth apps.

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