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Analysis of end user security behaviors

In the present article, we describe our efforts to work with subject matter experts to develop a taxonomy of end user security-related behaviors, test the consistency of that taxonomy, and use behaviors from that taxonomy to conduct a U.S. survey of an important set of end user behaviors. We interviewed 110 individuals who possessed knowledge of end user security-related behaviors, conducted a behavior rating exercise with 49 information technology subject matter experts, and ran a U.S. survey of 1167 end users to obtain self-reports of their password-related behaviors. Results suggested that six categories of end user security-related behaviors appeared to fit well on a two-dimensional map where one dimension captured the level of technical knowledge needed to enact the behavior and another dimension captured the intentionality of the behavior (including malicious, neutral, and benevolent intentions). Our U.S. survey of non-malicious, low technical knowledge behaviors related to password creation and sharing showed that password “hygiene” was generally poor but varied substantially across different organization types (e.g., military organizations versus telecommunications companies).