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Environmental Uncertainty and End-User Security Behaviour: A Study During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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modified on 19.04.2022, 12:42

This dataset contains PLS and Bootstrapping Data.


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced individuals to adopt online applications and technologies, as well as remote working patterns.  However, with changes in technology and working patterns, new  vulnerabilities are likely to arise. Cybersecurity threats have rapidly evolved to exploit uncertainty during the pandemic, and users need to apply careful judgment and vigilance to avoid becoming the victim of a  cyber-attack. This paper explores the factors that motivate security  behaviour, considering the current environmental uncertainty. An adapted  model, primarily based on the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), is  proposed and evaluated using data collected from an online survey of 222  respondents from a Higher Education institution. Data analysis was  performed using Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modelling  (PLS-SEM). The results confirm the applicability of PMT in the security  context. Respondents’ behavioural intention, perceived threat  vulnerability, response cost, response efficacy, security habits, and  subjective norm predicted self-reported security behaviour. In contrast,  environmental uncertainty, attitude towards policy compliance,  self-efficacy and perceived threat severity did not significantly impact  behavioural intention. The results show that respondents were able to  cope with environmental uncertainty and maintain security behaviour.

Department/Unit

University of Cape Town