“I Donʼt Know Too Much About It”: On the Security Mindsets of Computer Science Students


The security attitudes and approaches of software developers have a large impact on the software they produce, yet we know very little about how and when these views are constructed. This paper investigates the security and privacy (S&P) perceptions, experiences, and practices of current Computer Science students at the graduate and undergraduate level using semi-structured interviews. We find that the attitudes of students already match many of those that have been observed in professional level developers. Students have a range of hacker and attack mindsets, lack of experience with security APIs, a mixed view of who is in charge of S&P in the software life cycle, and a tendency to trust other peoples' code as a convenient approach to rapidly build software. We discuss the impact of our results on both curriculum development and support for professional developers.

Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust