Yue Huang

Yue Huang

Research Assistant/Ph.D. Candidate

UBC, Vancouver, Canada

About Me

Hi there! I’m Yue. I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where I work under the supervision of Pro. Konstanin Beznosov. My research interests are broadly in data security and privacy, with a focus on usable security and privacy.

My current research focuses on security, privacy, and UX issues in information tracking solutions that are being used during the pandemic, such as contact-tracing apps, digital travel permits, and visitor check-in solution. My recent work regarding this space investigates the factors that influence people’s adoption intentions of multiple information-tracking solutions.

My previous work in usable security and privacy focuses on identifying users’ security and privacy concerns about sharing personal information through various technologies, such as via shared smart home devices and shared accounts.


UX researcher intern

May 2019 - September 2019 · Tencent

Graduate Assistant

Jan. 2015 - Dec. 2019 · University of Windsor


Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering

2017 - present · University of British Columbia

M.A.S.c. in Electrical and Computer Engineering

2014 - 2017 · University of Windsor

Thesis: Efficient scalar multiplication against side channel attacks using new number representation

B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Management

2008 - 2012 · University of North China Electric Power University


2020. Yue Huang, Borke Obada-Obieh, Konstantin Beznosov. Amazon vs. my brother: How users of shared smart speakers perceive and cope with privacy risks. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

2020. Borke Obada-Obieh, Yue Huang, Konstantin Beznosov. The Burden of Ending Online Account Sharing. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

2020. Artemij Voskobojnikov, Borke Obada-Obieh, Yue Huang, Konstantin Beznosov. Surviving the cryptojungle: Perception and management of risk among North American cryptocurrency (non) users. International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security.

2021. Soheil Kianzad, Yelim Kim, Julia Ann Barakso Lindsay, Yue Huang, Julian Benavides Benavides, Rock Leung, Karon E MacLean. Accountability-Aware Design of Voice User Interfaces for Home Appliances. Graphics Interface 2021 Conference.

Research Projects

Household Users’ Security and Privacy Concerns about Shared Smart Speakers

With the rapid adoption of smart speakers in people’s homes, there is a corresponding increase in users’ privacy and security concerns. In contrast to previous studies of users’ concerns about smart speakers’ divulging private information to their manufacturers, our study focused on investigating users’ concerns with regard to housemates and external entities. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 26 participants living in 21 households. Our results suggest that users often have an inadequate understanding of what data their smart speakers makes available to all users and what is kept private. Although participants expressed different privacy concerns about their housemates and external entities, they adopted similar, yet suboptimal, risk management strategies. We provide recommendations for future speaker design to support more optimal coping with the perceived risks.

For more details, see paper.

Users’ Expectations, Experiences, and Concerns About a COVID-19Exposure Notification App

We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 users of exposure notification app COVID Alert. Our results suggest that users expect more information if they have been in close contact with someone positively diagnosed than that provided by COVID Alert. In addition, we identified several types of users’ mental models of COVID Alert, based on how well-informed and detailed the models were. The privacy concerns of the participants with Unsound and Skeptical mental models were mostly due to their misunderstandings and conjectures. Compared to a centralized proximity-based exposure notification app, COVID Alert app was favored due to a more efficient notification delivery method, its higher privacy protection level, and the personal choice to cooperate. Meanwhile, the latter two benefits were also a cause for concern about possible defiance by other users. We suggest design recommendations based on the findings, such as an anonymous chat function to provide exposed users with personalized guidelines

The manuscript is currently under review.

COVID-19 Information Tracking Solutions:A Qualitative Investigation of the Factors Influencing People’s Adoption Intention

Numerous information-tracking solutions have been implemented worldwide to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. While prior work has heavily explored the factors affecting people’s willingness to adopt contact tracing solutions, which inform people when they have been exposed to someone COVID-positive, numerous countries have implemented other information tracking solutions that use more and more sensitive data than these commonly studied contact-tracing apps. In this work, we build on existing work focused on contact-tracing apps to explore adoption and design considerations for six representative information-tracking solutions for COVID-19, which differ in their goals and in the types of information they collect. To do so, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 44 participants to investigate the factors that influence their willingness to adopt these solutions. We find four main categories of influences on participants’ willingness to adopt such solutions: individual benefits of the solution, societal benefits of the solution, functionality concerns, and digital safety (e.g., security and privacy) concerns. Further, we enumerate the factors that inform participant’s evaluations of these categories. Based on our findings, we make recommendations for the future design of information-tracking solutions and discuss how different factors may balance against benefits in future crisis situations.

The manuscript is currently under review.

The Burden of Ending Online Account Sharing

Many people share online accounts, even in situations where high privacy and security are expected. Naturally, the sharing of these accounts does not endure forever. This paper reports the privacy and security challenges that people experience when they stop online account sharing. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 25 participants who stopped sharing at least one online account in the 12 months preceding the study. Our results suggest that users experience cognitive and psychosocial burdens when ending account sharing. We offer suggestions for how to improve the design of online accounts to support users better when they end account sharing.

For more details, see paper.

Mastering the Crypto Zoo

Digital currencies have been gaining an increasing interest over recent years, which resulted in a market worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Naturally, this growth attracted various actors, including, but not limited to, dishonest, or outright fraudulent cryptocurrency start-ups and exchanges. While these threats are well-documented, little is known about how users develop and maintain trust towards the actors in the Blockchain domain. This project presents results of an interview study (N = 20) investigating trust among cryptocurrency users and non-users. Findings show that the vast majority of trust determinants are based on unreliable information (e.g., information on social media or white papers) prone to mimicry and fraud. Further, factors are identified that negatively correlate with the trust perception of non-users (e.g., usability issues of cryptocurrency tools and exchanges), thus, possibly resulting in non-involvement. We conclude with design recommendations that can help in fostering trust and reduce the risk of malicious actors.

For more details, see paper.

Accountability-Aware Design of Voice User Interfaces forHome Appliances

Voice-user interfaces (VUIs) are becoming part of everyday life. As systems become more capable and support higher expectations, the conversational interactions that VUIs sup-port invite ambiguity in responsibility for tasks that a user requests or commands. Just as for person-person exchanges, accountability disruption can cause miscommunications with impact ranging from inconvenience to serious safety hazards.This paper explores accountability management in the context of interaction with home appliances. To explore links between perceived system accountability, actual degree of automation and user satisfaction, we conducted a mixed-methods study (8interviews and 15 questionnaires) based on four walk-through videos of washing machine interactions, each featuring a different VUI mechanism that failed at the laundry task. While we found a positive correlation between automation (system decision making) and perception of system accountability, participants also predicted higher satisfaction with with highly automated systems. Our analysis provides insight for designers in managing perceived accountability while maintaining the benefits of VUI integration.

For more details, see paper.

Professional activities

  • PC member, The 6th Who Are You?! Adventures in Authentication Workshop (WAY 2020), August 9, 2020
  • Technical committee member, ACHI 2021, The Fourteenth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions, July 18 – 22, 2021
  • Poster Jury, CHI 2021 Late-Breaking Work (LBWs), 2021
  • Poster Jury, SOUPS 2021, The Sixteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security, 2021