The Impact of Information Security Awareness on Compliance with Information Security Policies: a Phishing Perspective
Description: This research seeks to derive and examine a multidimensional definition of information security awareness, investigate its antecedents, and analyze its effects on compliance with organizational information security policies. The above research goals are tested through the theoretical lens of technology threat avoidance theory and protection motivation theory. Information security awareness is defined as a second-order construct composed of the elements of threat and coping appraisals supplemented by the responsibilities construct to account for organizational environment. The study is executed in two stages. First, the participants (employees of a municipality) are exposed to a series of phishing and spear-phishing messages to assess if there are any common characteristics shared by the phishing victims. The differences between the phished and the not phished group are assessed through multiple discriminant analysis. Second, the same individuals are asked to participate in a survey designed to examine their security awareness. The research model is tested using PLS-SEM approach. The results indicate that security awareness is in fact a second-order formative construct composed of six components. There are significant differences in security awareness levels between the victims of the phishing experiment and the employees who maintain compliance with security policies. The study extends the theory by proposing and validating a universal definition of security awareness. It provides practitioners with an instrument to examine awareness in a plethora of settings and design customized security training activities.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Hanus, Bartlomiej T.
Partner: UNT Libraries