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Title: A malware threat avoidance model for online social network users
Author: Ikhalia, Ehinome
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 3126
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2017
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The main purpose of this thesis is to develop a malware threat avoidance model for users of online social networks (OSNs). To understand the research domain, a comprehensive and systematic literature review was conducted and then the research scope was established. Two design science iterations were carried out to achieve the research aim reported in this thesis. In the first iteration, the research extended the Technology Threat Avoidance Theory (TTAT) to include a unique characteristic of OSN - Mass Interpersonal Persuasion (MIP). The extended model (TTAT-MIP), focused on investigating the factors that needs to be considered in a security awareness system to motivate OSN users to avoid malware threats. Using a quantitative approach, the results of the first iteration suggests perceived severity, perceived threat, safeguard effectiveness, safeguard cost, self-efficacy and mass interpersonal persuasion should be included in a security awareness system to motivate OSN users to avoid malware threats. The second iteration was conducted to further validate TTAT-MIP through a Facebook video animation security awareness system (referred in this thesis as Social Network Criminal (SNC)). SNC is a Web-based application integrated within Facebook to provide security awareness to OSN users. To evaluate TTAT-MIP through SNC, three research techniques were adopted: lab experiments, usability study and semi-structured interviews. The results suggest that participants perceived SNC as a useful tool for malware threat avoidance. In addition, SNC had a significant effect on the malware threat avoidance capabilities of the study participants. Moreover, the thematic analysis of the semi-structured interviews demonstrated that the study participants' found SNC to be highly informative; persuasive; interpersonally persuasive; easy to use; relatable; fun to use; engaging; and easy to understand. These findings were strongly related to the constructs of TTAT-MIP. The research contributes to theory by demonstrating a novel approach to design and deploy security awareness systems in a social context. This was achieved by including users' behavioural characteristic on the online platform where malware threats occur within a security awareness system. Besides, this research shows how practitioners keen on developing systems to improve security behaviours could adopt the TTAT-MIP model for other related contexts.
Supervisor: Serrano-Rico, A. ; Groen, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mass interpersonal persuasion ; Social engineering on social networks ; Security awareness on social networks ; Social network malware ; Social network criminal