A Study of Cyber Security Issues in Sri Lanka

A Study of Cyber Security Issues in Sri Lanka

Ruwan Nagahawatta (Deakin University, Victoria, Australia), Matthew Warren (Centre for Cyber Security Research, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia) and William Yeoh (Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics, Faculty of Business and Law, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJCWT.2020070105


Cybersecurity is focused on helping the community to make knowledgeable decisions on its adaptation and mitigation. This survey evaluated the level of cybersecurity awareness and discernment amongst university students in Sri Lanka. The study was based on primary data collected through a questionnaire on awareness and the perception of cybersecurity from respondents at universities in Sri Lanka. The results indicated that experience and the level of cybersecurity awareness among university students in Sri Lanka are not significantly low, but there are some knowledge gaps with new threats. Further, the results showed that university students in Sri Lanka were able to identify cybercrime as a threat. These findings necessitate building awareness and developing capacity to improve student's knowledge on the cybersecurity subject especially if universities are to be used as a key focal point in cybersecurity awareness campaigns in Sri Lanka.
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1. Introduction

The Internet has become a part of the life of many people around the world (Kritzinger & Solms, 2010). “There is no argument whatsoever that the proliferation of devices and information are empowering. Technology is today far more democratically available than it was yesterday and less than it will be tomorrow” (Geer, 2015). The Internet evolvement in Sri Lanka is remarkable and most of the Internet related latest technologies were introduced to Sri Lanka sometime even before the other countries in the region (Abeysekara et al., 2012). Both the government and the corporate sectors of Sri Lanka have also incorporated the cyberspace into their operations. Thus, operations of the government and private sector institutions heavily rely on computers and the Internet. However, there are many threats and risks incorporated with the Internet (Riem, 2001). Furthermore, the Internet has led to criminal activities due to private information on it (De Joode, 2011). Hence, there is a risk of misusing and compromising personal data on the Internet (Tierney, 2018).

Social media is an outcome of the Internet platform on which individuals and groups can share their ideas, interests, and views with others. This media is more popular with the development of Internet technology and the attractiveness of web-based applications, enabling many-to-many communication and online sharing. Aral et al., (2013) claim that social media is “fundamentally changing the way we communicate, collaborate, consume, and create”. There is not a common definition for social media. However, Kaplan and Haenlein, (2010) defined social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 which allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content”. Social media comprises the usage of online websites such as Facebook (FB), YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and others which are used to reach their community base and to denote a variety of web-based tools that purportedly encourage communication.

On the other hand, social media influences traditional media and has become an alternative to traditional media (Piechota, 2011). Negussie and Ketema (2014) argued that FB is a media for freedom of dialogue and consent to people from different ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds to directly share information without any restrictions. Also, FB election campaign is recognized as a facilitative mode to access political information in several ways. Through FB group activists and ordinary citizens could voice their opposition to the government when denied democracy and suppress their views and voices (Hanson et al., 2010). For example, The USA presidential campaign in 2008 was the first to use the world of YouTube, My Space, FB, and political blogging Internet based for such purposes. By 2010, 22% of Internet users have been using social media network for political activity (Bekafigo et al., 2013). Further, many studies argued that social media could influence people by changing their perception, and attitudes and promote people to think differently.

Lack of awareness and knowledge cause inability to protect their personal data (Thomson, 2006). Also, the lack of awareness about cybersecurity among parents has a negative impact on the role of protecting their children from cybercrimes (Lange, & von Solms 2011; Atkinson, 2009). Hence, people should be equipped with the necessary knowledge for the cyber threats and risks that they have to face every day (Kritzinger, 2017). According to De Lange and von Solms (2012), most adults do not have enough knowledge about online threats in order to protect their children from unsecured Internet access. Also, hackers aim to weakness that made by lack of knowledgeable online users (Kritzinger & von Solms, 2012). Christensen (2003) argued that providing awareness about cybersecurity would facilitate secure online behavior. In addition, promoting education could contribute to minimize the risk of users’ insecure online behaviors (Kritzinger & Padayachee, 2013).

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