Here’s Why Most of US Ignore PC Security Warnings: Weak Multitasking

We have all experienced this situation where we are deeply immersed in some task on our computer and suddenly a dialogue box or a notification pops up asking you to update a software. Or there’s an alert about your PC’s security. It’s quite annoying and we mostly ignore it. Ignoring a software update can be fine, but, ignoring a security alert will surely not.

Research Ignoring Security Alert
Are good at multitasking? | Photo: Shutterstock

Researchers have found that the reason behind you ignoring the warnings and popups is that you might be weak at multitasking.

BYU’s Information System Researchers have found that 90% of users ignore PC security warning if they pop up at the wrong time. In the new study, which was done in collaboration with Google Chrome’s security engineers, they’ve concluded that the reason is “dual-task interference” or multitasking. After conducting MRI tests, they found that an interruption during important tasks like typing, watching a video or uploading files can lower the neural activity.

To be specific, 74% of participants ignored messages that popped up while closing a web page, 79% ignored while watching a video and 87% when they were entering a confirmation code. However, this problem can be solved by skillfully adjusting the timings of these warnings, as suggested by Jeff Jenkins the lead author of the study.

But you can mitigate this problem simply by finessing the timing of the warnings – Jeff Jenkins

As the study was conducted in collaboration with Chrome’s security engineers, we’ll soon see its effect in the Chrome browser. The developers of Chrome Cleanup Tool were so impressed that they will be fine-tuning the timing of warnings in future updates. It will also be helpful to alert users of malicious websites.

In the study, they also checked when users react to security warnings. Following were the situations.

  • After watching a video.
  • While a web page is loading.
  • After interacting with a website.

Incorporating such timings in a software can certainly help users to better react to security alerts and other updates. Web browsing experience can be enhanced with lesser interruptions.

Windows 10 Handles Security Updates Very Well

Let’s talk about Windows 10. It handles security updates very well. It automatically downloads them in the background and waits to be installed. The reboot is only performed when the system is not being used. Mostly during the night.

Active Hours Windows10
Active hours configuration in Windows 10 that prevents spontaneous restart after an update is downloaded.

You can even set active hours on your PC where you intensively work. During these active hours, no update interruption will be triggered. Even if it does, you’ll probably ignore it. But, you can access it later from the Action Center. The recent Anniversary Update brought in a new counter to the action center which surely will help you remember the task to be completed.

Apart from security alerts, the software updates, malware scan notification and backup requests should be timely adjusted by developers, making the best use of the above study.

You Weak at Multitasking?

If you are ignoring such updates, you might be weak at multitasking. That might hurt, but, this should now encourage you to always react to such updates. Especially, the security alerts. However, this study will not certainly bother the 2.5 percent people that are considered to be supertaskers. People that can perform multiple tasks with high proficiency.

ALSO READ: Hold that Windows 10 Anniversary Upgrade if You Love Your Webcam

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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