Modelling internet security software usage among undergraduate students. A necessity in an increasingly networked world

Publication Date12 Feb 2018
AuthorAli Vafaei-Zadeh,Thurasamy Ramayah,Wai Peng Wong,Haniruzila Md Hanifah
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
Modelling internet security
software usage among
undergraduate students
A necessity in an increasingly networked world
Ali Vafaei-Zadeh
Graduate School of Business, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang,
Malaysia and School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden,
Penang, Malaysia
Thurasamy Ramayah
School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden Heights, Malaysia, and
Wai Peng Wong and Haniruzila Md Hanifah
School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia
Purpose The aim of this researchis to analyse the impact of relative advantage, compatibility,ease of use,
visibility, voluntariness, image, result demonstrability and trialability on intention to use internet security
software using a model developed based on perceivedcharacteristics of innovation by Moore and Benbasat
(1991) amongundergraduate students.
Design/methodology/approach Using an interceptsurvey method, 425 responses were collectedfrom
a Malaysian publicuniversity using a closed questionnaire which wasgotten from the literature. The authors
used the SmartPLS softwarewhich is a second-generation structural equation modellingsoftware that can be
used to model latentvariables with negligible requirements.
Findings The results show that relative advantage, compatibility, visibility, voluntariness, result
demonstrabilityand trialability had a positive effecton use of internet security software whileease of use and
image was not signicant.
Research limitations/implications The most important predictor was trialability which sends a
clear signal to software developers that users would like to be able to try the software before making a
decision to purchaseand use. However, the research is limited to studentsonly. Therefore, future research can
be extendedto wider population.
Practical implications The result of this paper providesbenecial information to the internet security
softwaredevelopers about what factors affect usersintentionsto buy their products.
Originality/value The authors used the comprehensive innovationdiffusion theory to test the security
behaviour of under graduate studentsfrom a developing countrys perspectives. Many other similar studies
have been done in the developed countryscontext. Thus, this paper adds to the literature from a developing
Keywords Structural equation modelling, Students, Usage, Internet security software,
Perceived characteristics of innovation
Paper type Research paper
The authors gratefully acknowledge the nancial support provided by the Malaysian Ministry of
Higher Education for the nancial support of this work under the Fundamental Research Grant
Scheme 203/PMGT/6711513.
Received20 September 2016
Revised27 April 2017
Accepted15 May 2017
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.48 No. 1, 2018
pp. 2-20
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-09-2016-0052
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
1. Introduction
The internet is so amazingly immense that it is not difcult to picture it as being its very
own world. However, in an exceedingly technological and quickly developing world,
information security is an important concern of society because everyone is exposed to
information security risk going online. As information security threats continue to mount,
understanding and managing internet security need to be given closer attention. Based on
Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2015, above 1.96 million malware infections aimed at stealing
money from online bank accounts, 7,500 computers infected with Ransomware and 121.2
million unique maliciouscodes were detected by Kaspersky Labs web antivirus (Kaspersky
Lab, 2015b). Moreover, informationsecurity incidents increased by 38 per cent compared to
2014 (PWC, 2016). According to Infowatch report 2014, 38.1 per cent of the information
leakages were through the network (browsingand cloud) and this is the highest percentage
compared to other channel leakages such as paper documents 17.7 per cent and removable
media 3.6 per cent only (Infowatch,2014).
In addition, Symantec survey shows that information security breaches of greater than
10 million identities were increasedby 125 per cent in 2015. Malware and Ransomware were
also increased by 36 and 35 per cent, respectively, in 2015 compared to 2014 (Symantec,
2016). Moreover, in 2015,34.2 per cent of computers were exposed to internet attacks at least
once while their owner was surng the internet (Kaspersky Lab, 2015a). Like other
developing countries, internet security threats are increasing in Malaysia. Recently,
CyberSecurity Malaysia issued a new alert to Malaysian internet users about increase of
Ransomware attacks, with 5,069attacks in 2015 (Tam, 2015;Symantec, 2016). Ransomware
is a type of malware (malicious software) that encrypts victims computer data until the
owner pays the creators to unlock it. Malaysian internet users are major victims of
Advanced Persistent Threatgroups such as Hellsing and Naikon. For example, in the wake
of Malaysian airlines MH370 tragedythat happened on 8 March 2014, Naikon group started
to hit most nations involved in the search for MH370 including institutions with access to
information related to the missing MH370 (Kaspersky Lab, 2015a). Hence, these facts and
gures should not undermine the magnitudeof information security and in general internet
security problems facedby individuals in this modern lifestyle. However, nearlya quarter of
computers in Malaysia are unprotected in the second quarter of 2016 (Microsoft, 2016).
Therefore, the following question arises: Why do not computer users use internet security
software in situationswhere strong and obvious internet threats exist?
As internet can be an unsafe and scary place,the careful selection of a security software
safeguards surng. This prompts the investigation of the impact of relative advantage,
compatibility, ease of use, visibility, voluntariness, image, result demonstrability and
trialability on intention touse internet security software. The research model that is used in
this research is adapted from perceived characteristics of innovation by Moore and
Benbasat (1991). This study expects to raise the awareness of individuals to potency of
internet security software in protecting computers against internet security threats. It also
has important implications for national cybersecurity because network visitors include
individuals. It is expected national cybersecurity is tied to individualsinternet security
practices. Therefore, this study includes factors which could inuence individual intention
to use internet securitysoftware.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows. First, a brief introduction to internet
security threats will be presented. Second, the conceptual and theoretical background
relating to perceived attributesand perceived characteristics of innovation of the model are
presented along with hypotheses development. Third, methodology is described in detail

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