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The psychology of security for the home computer user

The home computer user is often said to be the weakest link in computer security. They do not always follow security advice, and they take actions, as in phishing, that compromise themselves. In general, we do not understand why users do not always behave safely, which would seem to be in their best interest. This paper reviews the literature of surveys and studies of factors that influence security decisions for home computer users. We organize the review in four sections: understanding of threats, perceptions of risky behavior, efforts to avoid security breaches and attitudes to security interventions. We find that these studies reveal a lot of reasons why current security measures may not match the needs or abilities of home computer users and suggest future work needed to inform how security is delivered to this user group.


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