National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is observed each October. Jointly sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCSAM’s purpose is “to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.”
Recent research published in the Social Science Computer Review provides valuable insight into the types of consumers most vulnerable to cybercrime. Dr. Thomas Holt, Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University and lead author of the research reveals, “People who show signs of low self-control are the ones we found more susceptible to malware attacks…This type of person shows signs of short-sightedness, negligence, physical versus verbal behavior and an inability to delay gratification.” Impulse online shopping, downloading music and compulsive email use are indicative of low self-control relative to the internet.
Dr. Edgar Rutger Leukfeldt, cybercrime cluster coordinator at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) and Director of the Cybersecurity & SMEs Research Group of Hague University, has been researching the issue of personality traits of cybercrime victims and has found that personality traits are not specifically associated with cybercrime victimization but with victimization in general.
Leukfeldt’s 2017 study entitled “Big Five Personality Traits of Cybercrime Victims” discloses that lower scores on emotional stability and conscientiousness and higher scores on openness to experience were shown to be associated with cybercrime victimization and with victimization in general. However, findings also showed that those with higher scores on emotional stability were less likely to become victims of cybercrime than traditional crime. Those with higher scores on openness to experience have higher odds of becoming victims of hacking or virus infection but not of cyber-enabled crimes.
To date, computer scientists have pursued technical solutions to malware prevention. As Director of the International Interdisciplinary Research Consortium on Cybercrime (IIRCC), Holt’s goal is to link cybercrime and cybersecurity researchers from both the technical and social sciences in an effort to develop a more holistic approach to cybercrime prevention.