How education level influences internet security knowledge, behaviour, and attitude: a comparison among undergraduates, postgraduates and working graduates

Qin An, Wilson Cheong Hin Hong, Xiao Shu Xu, Yunfeng Zhang, Kimberly Kolletar-Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During the pandemic, the prevailing online learning has brought tremendous benefits to the education field. However, it has also become a target for cybercriminals. Cybersecurity awareness (CSA) or Internet security awareness in the education sector turns out to be critical to mitigating cybersecurity risks. However, previous research indicated that using education level alone to judge CSA level received inconsistent results. This study postulated Social Educational Level (SEL) as a moderator with an extended Knowledge-Attitude-Behaviour model, used students’ year level as a proxy for the impact of education level, and used work exposure for the influence of social education level, to compare CSA among undergraduates, postgraduates and working graduates. The participants in the study were divided into six groups, namely year 1 university students, year 2-3university students, final-year students, postgraduate students, young working graduates, and experienced working graduates. The Human Aspects of Information Security Questionnaire was used to conduct a large-scale survey. The multivariate regression model analysis showed significant differences among the knowledge, attitude and behaviour dimensions across groups with different conditions of year-level and work exposure. However, it was found that SEL played a more significant role than an individual’s education level. The study suggested that a greater endeavour be committed to educating the public at large together with individuals, institutes, corporate and governments to improve the national CSA level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-317
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Information Security
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • CSA
  • Cybersecurity awareness
  • HAIS-Q
  • ISA
  • Internet security awareness
  • KAB model
  • Online learning
  • Social educational level

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