Taking responsibility for online protection – why citizens have their part to play

When considering the responsibility for the protection of the individual from online threats, opinion is often divided about whether it resides with technology manufacturers or end users. In this research we present the thesis that while manufacturers are becoming more proactive in their efforts to provide (and enable) appropriate safeguards, a significant proportion of end users are still not taking any of the responsibility for themselves. Indeed, in some cases they will engage in reckless behaviour likely to result in attack – through either lack of knowledge or a laissez faire attitude. Evidence drawn from one set of experiments (WLAN access point scanning) shows a longitudinal change in the volume of protected networks and demonstrates a change in manufacturer attitude over this time. Meanwhile, the findings from a second set of experiments (Bluetooth scanning and simulated spamming) highlights a significant proportion of the test population exposing unprotected devices and, more alarmingly, a willingness to accept unsolicited files onto these devices.