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The effect of time pressure on human behavior regarding phishing susceptibility: Human aspects in information security
University of Skövde, School of Informatics.
2023 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Human errors are common in the contemporary cyber ecosystem, and in an organization’s cybersecurity chain, humans are considered the weakest link. Cybercriminals exploit human vulnerabilities using sophisticated attacks such as phishing. Human susceptibility to phishing is a persistent threat, and has a devastating effect on organizational and personal security. Previous researchers found that human susceptibility to phishing increases in presence of some factors such as organizational, individual, and environmental. Various studies highlight time pressure as one of the influencing factors that can negatively or positively impact human behavior. This research study aimed to investigate the effect of time pressure on human cybersecurity behavior regarding the ability to detect phishing. The study used quantitative research and developed a questionnaire comprising interactive phishing emails distributed online to 03 random groups having different time limits to complete the questionnaire. The study received 356 complete responses. The study's result shows a slight change in user behavior under time pressure, and the impact of time pressure can be positive or negative. However, the results are not statistically significant for all demographic groups to accept this slight change in variance. Moreover, this study's results validate previous studies on human susceptibility to phishing and found more than 50 % of respondents vulnerable to phishing.

Thus, the results of this study indicate that the factor of time pressure itself does not significantly impact the human ability to detect phishing. However, it is essential to note that other work-related tasks or stress associated with time pressure can influence human behavior in detecting phishing attempts.

In conclusion, the author also proposes further testing and some methodology tweaking by modifying the time given to each tested group and adding more elements to the questionnaire. Finally, the study also suggested conducting the same analysis on physically controlled groups in an organizational or institutional setting. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. , p. 60
Keywords [en]
Cybersecurity behavior, phishing susceptibility, cybersecurity awareness, time pressure, the human factor
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-23158OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-23158DiVA, id: diva2:1793833
Subject / course
Informationsteknologi
Educational program
Privacy, Information and Cyber Security - Master's Programme 120 ECTS
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2023-09-04 Created: 2023-09-04 Last updated: 2023-09-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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