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Title: Strategic framework to minimise information security risks in the UAE
Author: Alkaabi, Ahmed
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 0622
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2014
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The transition process to ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has had significant influence on different aspects of society. Although the computerisation process has motivated the alignment of different technical and human factors with the expansion process, the technical pace of the transition surpasses the human adaptation to change. Much research on ICT development has shown that ICT security is essentially a political and a managerial act that must not disregard the importance of the relevant cultural characteristics of a society. Information sharing is a necessary action in society to exchange knowledge and to enable and facilitate communication. However, certain information should be shared only with selected parties or even kept private. Information sharing by humans forms the main obstacle to security measure undertaken by organisations to protect their assets. Moreover, certain cultural traits play a major role in thwarting information security measures. Arab culture of the United Arab Emirates is one of those cultures with strong collectivism featuring strong ties among individuals. Sharing sensitive information including passwords of online accounts can be found in some settings in some cultures, but with reason and generally on a small scale. However, this research includes a study on 3 main Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, namely, Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, showing that there is similar a significant level of sensitive information sharing among employees in the region. This is proven to highly contribute to compromising user digital authentication, eventually, putting users’ accounts at risk. The research continued by carrying out a comparison between the United Kingdom (UK) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in terms of attitudes and behaviour towards information sharing. It was evident that there is a significant difference between GCC Arab culture and the UK culture in terms of information sharing. Respondents from the GCC countries were more inclined to share sensitive information with their families and friends than the UK respondents were. However, UK respondents still revealed behaviour in some contexts, which may lead potential threats to the authentication mechanism and consequently to other digital accounts that require a credential pass. It was shown that the lack of awareness and the cultural impact are the main issues for sensitive information sharing among family members and friends in the GCC. The research hence investigated channels and measures of reducing the prevalence of social engineering attacks, such as legislative measures, technological measures, and education and awareness. The found out that cultural change is necessary to remedy sensitive information sharing as a cultural trait. Education and awareness are perhaps the best defence to cultural change and should be designed effectively. Accordingly, the work critically analysed three national cybersecurity strategies of the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (U.S.) and Australia (AUS) in order to identify any information security awareness education designed to educate online users about the risk of sharing sensitive information including passwords. The analysis aimed to assess possible adoption of certain elements, if any, of these strategies by the UAE. The strategies discussed only user awareness to reduce information sharing. However, awareness in itself may not achieve the required result of reducing information sharing among family members and friends. Rather, computer users should be educated about the risks of such behaviour in order to realise and change. As a result, the research conducted an intervention study that proposed a UAE-focused strategy designed to promote information security education for the younger generation to mitigate the risk of sensitive information sharing. The results obtained from the intervention study of school children formed a basis for the information security education framework also proposed in this work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G400 Computer Science ; computer security ; information security ; information security governance ; United Arab Emirates