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Smartphone security awareness, perceptions and practices: a Welsh higher education case study
INTED2020 Proceedings, Pages: 3014 - 3023
Swansea University Author: Desireé Cranfield
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Higher Education students are purported to be heavy users of technology; specifically, smartphones,which are “Internet of Things” devices. These have revolutionized every sector of public and personallife, including teaching and learning within Higher Education. The way students engage with each oth...
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Higher Education students are purported to be heavy users of technology; specifically, smartphones,which are “Internet of Things” devices. These have revolutionized every sector of public and personallife, including teaching and learning within Higher Education. The way students engage with each other,with institutions of higher learning, and with their own education, has changed dramatically. Thesmartphone pervades all areas of their lives with a plethora of security issues accompanying its use.Cybersecurity perceptions are said to inform security practices and precautionary-related behaviours. Ifperceptions are skewed, the necessary security behaviours might be inadequate. The main objective ofthis quantitative study was to investigate the level of smartphone security awareness of HigherEducation students undertaking a Business degree at a Welsh University during the 2016-17 and 2018-19 academic years. Understanding whether students have acquired prior cybersecurity knowledgethrough formal means was key to understanding whether there was a link between security education,security awareness, smartphone security behaviours, perceptions and practices. This researchtherefore aimed to investigate: 1) The level of smartphone security awareness depicted in the attitudes,behaviours, knowledge and competences of these university students; 2) Any gender differences interms of attitudes, behaviours, knowledge and competences regarding smartphone security awareness;and 3) The importance of cybersecurity awareness & training. Participants in this study were largelymale, with half of the participants having undertaken a prior information communication technologycourse. Almost all participants recognised that there were issues with social networking applications andlocation sharing. The majority did not deploy measures to prevent viruses, this being the case forsignificantly more females. More than half of the participants used mechanisms to protect their data.However, significantly more of the 2018-19 participant group, as compared to the 2016-17 participantgroup, did not do this. This study suggests that formal information communication technology trainingimproved awareness of the security risks and more secure behaviours. Even so, smartphone securityawareness is not as high as hoped. This study suggests that as technology and digital literacy gainimportance, smartphone security literacy training should not be left to chance. It is clear that educationand training should occur early in the education life cycle, and be a lifelong learning activity.Keywords: Smartphone, cybersecurity, life-long learning, higher education, mobile phone.
Smartphone, cybersecurity, life-long learning, higher education, mobile phone
School of Management