The Efficacy of Security Awareness Programs from a Cross-Cultural Perspective

The Efficacy of Security Awareness Programs from a Cross-Cultural Perspective

B. Dawn Medlin (Appalachian State University, USA) and Charlie C. Chen (Appalachian State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-852-9.ch016
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Different cultures have different technological capabilities and, therefore, face a diverse set of security challenges. Increasing security awareness training can alert users to the existence of security vulnerabilities and threats. A user’s ability to understand these threats and vulnerabilities can empower them to take preventive and corrective actions in the event of such problems. This study proposes that users adopt situational awareness learning that is more receptive to high individualists than low individualists in their ability to increase their security awareness levels, which include comprehension, projection, and actions. We conducted an intercultural study to investigate if users from the U.S. and Taiwan exposed to the same situational awareness learning would have different performance in security awareness outcomes. Our findings confirmed that security awareness is cultural-ware learning, and our proposed situational awareness is a more useful learning approach to high individualists than low individualists.
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Information security deals with issues related to authorization, authentication, availability, integrity, non-repudiation, and privacy. These security issues are invariably very dissimilar within different countries. A cross-cultural study on the awareness of users in the area of availability shows that Chinese users are less aware of spyware and viruses than their U.S. counterparts (Schmidt, 2008). In the privacy area, a report on Internet Enemies shows that 13 countries have been exercising a more rigorous censorship than most countries (Reporters without Borders, 2008). For instance, China filters online information based on key words and has the world’s largest prison for online dissidents. Belarus bans anti-government websites via the use of denial of services. Libya owns the main Internet service provider, the General Post and Telecommunications Company (GPTC), and if their citizens spread online information that can endanger the country’s authority they could face the death penalty. All of these examples demonstrated that national security concerns can easily compromise personal privacy. Thus, it is important that residents in any county be aware of privacy-related security risks.

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