Gender responses towards online social engineering attacks amongst young adult students in South Africa.
Ngwane, Happyness Nothando.
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Online-based attacks have become prevalent and continue to be on the rise as technology advances. The complexity of the internet has posed a cybersecurity concern across various online channels. As a result, online social engineering has become an important information aspect of security in the usage of the internet. Young adults, mainly students, who have the necessary social engineering knowledge to protect their personally identifiable information (PII) are less likely to fall victim. Therefore, social engineering awareness is seen as an important defense mechanism that enables students to protect their PII. Due to the lack of social engineering awareness initiatives conducted in higher academic institutions, social engineers succeed in luring students. This study applied the quantitative research approach through distributing 379 questionnaires to both female and male students. The questionnaire tested both male and female students on their social engineering knowledge, information security attitudes, social engineering perceptions and online behaviour. The results of this study showed that there is a gender difference in online behaviour in reacting to online social engineering. The male students’ responses revealed that they have more social engineering knowledge compared to their female counterparts. The findings also provided an indication of the online behaviours that potentially increase the students’ susceptibility. The findings validate the need for social engineering awareness initiatives that address students on how to improve their online social engineering identification and information security. The study concludes by recommending attainable solutions to increasing the awareness levels of social engineering knowledge.