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Journal article | Research library
| 01/07/2018

Finding the weakest links in the weakest link: how well do undergraduate students make cyber security judgment?

Zheng Yan | Thomas Robertson | River Yan | Sung Yong Park | Samantha Bordoff | Quan Chen | Ethan Sprissler

The psychology of cybersecurity literature widely acknowledges that in the realm of cybersecurity, it’s often ordinary users, rather than technology systems, who constitute the weakest link. This study specifically aimed to assess the cybersecurity judgment of 462 college students, representing a segment of these ordinary users, to pinpoint particular vulnerabilities within this weak link.

The study revealed the following key findings:
1. The average percentage of correct cybersecurity judgments among the 462 students was 65%.
2. A total of 104 students (23%) demonstrated the lowest level of correct judgments, scoring below 50%.
3. Out of 16 cybersecurity items assessed, two received the lowest correct judgments, falling below the 50% mark.
4. Students’ accuracy in rational judgment (64%) did not significantly surpass their accuracy in intuitive judgment (66%).

These findings shed light on the cybersecurity knowledge and decision-making abilities of college students, contributing to our understanding of potential weaknesses within this user group.

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