The Adoption of Security Control Apps among Smartphone Users in Tanzania

The Adoption of Security Control Apps among Smartphone Users in Tanzania

Daniel Koloseni, Eliamani Mathew Sedoyeka
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJTD.2019100101
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Threats to mobile devices and smartphones, in particular, are on the rise, suggesting that data and information residing in the mobile device such as smartphones are in danger of being attacked. The current study employs an extended TBP as a theoretical framework to investigate the adoption of security control apps (i.e. antivirus) to safeguard against the attacks. A theoretical framework was tested using structural equation modelling (SEM) with data collected from 233 respondents. The study found that social influence, attitude and security awareness have an influence on the intention to adopt antivirus software while perceived behavioral control and individual risk propensity have no influence. Further security awareness has an influence on the attitude of smartphone users towards using antivirus software.
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There is a massive increase in smartphones usage among individuals in recent years. The smartphone is a simple version of a traditional computer which allows installation of programs or applications and can be programmed like a traditional computer (Jeon, Kim, Lee, & Won, 2011). The massive increase of smartphones for personal and business use is due to its portability, easy to use, affordability and easy internet accessibility. Smartphones are widely used in learning, health, business operations and for social purposes (Agrebi & Jallais, 2015; Wang, Xiang, & Fesenmaier, 2016; Dufau et al., 2011; Shin, Shin, Choo, & Beom, 2011; Strom, Vendel, & Bredican, 2014).

The capabilities of the smartphone to allow installation of applications, connection to the internet, connection to external storage devices such memory cards and on-the-go (OTG) place smartphones in similar information security threats and vulnerabilities as a normal or a traditional computer. Information security vulnerabilities to smartphones include malfunctions caused by implementation errors, risks of installing applications from untrusted sources, risks of connecting to the untrusted and unsecure wireless network and risks of improper applications configurations (Jeon et al., 2011). These vulnerabilities may create security loopholes that can be used by malware, to launch wireless network attacks and phishing attacks. Information security mechanisms which can be applied to secure smartphones include anti-virus to prevent against malware, spam filters to prevent spams and access to phishing sites and firewall to prevent network related attacks such as blocking malicious traffic (Jeon et al., 2011).

Smartphones contain a vast amount of personal data which is generated as the owner use or access apps (such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc.) in his or her smartphone. The attacks on smartphones may jeopardise severely security of user’s information and privacy. With the increasing use of smartphones to perform various offices works and for personal uses such as accessing e-services and social networks, we believe more efforts should be directed to the security of smartphones.

The number of people who uses antivirus applications is still low despite the increase in smartphone malware attacks. The study conducted by Hamza, Gadanya, Spikin and Abba (2015) indicates that only 17% of respondents are using antivirus in their smartphones as compared to 48% in desktop computers. A similar trend in poor adoption of security software for smartphones is also observed by Chiang et al., 2017, Mylonas, Kastania, and Gritzalis (2013) and Zhang, Li, and Deng, 2017. The threat of virus on smartphones increases exponentially. Currently, there are more than 400 different mobile viruses in circulation (Jeffrey & Bickford, 2012). Antivirus software is categorised as a security protection technology which is used as a security measure to offer proactive security defence against viruses (Blakley, McDermott, & Geer, 2001; Furnell & Clarke, 2012; Venter & Eloff, 2003). To the best of our knowledge, few studies such as Han, Wu and Windsor (2014) and Parker et al. (2015) have investigated the adoption of smartphone security controls such as antivirus. However, Parker et al. (2015) did not study the adoption of antivirus as a security control or measure instead paid attention to authentication controls and anti-theft controls. Hence, there is the scarcity of studies which investigate the factors influencing the adoption of security control measures such as using antivirus on smartphones.

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