Non-Experts' Perceptions Regarding the Severity of Different Cyber-Attack Consequences: Implications for Designing Warning Messages and Modeling Threats

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Natalie LodingerKeith JonesAkbar Siami-NaminBen Widlus

Abstract: Cyber-defenders must account for users’ perceptions of attack consequence severity. However, research has yet to investigate such perceptions of a wide range of cyber-attack consequences. Thus, we had users rate the severity of 50 cyber-attack consequences. We then analyzed those ratings to a) understand perceived severity for each consequence, and b) compare perceived severity across select consequences. Further, we grouped ratings into the STRIDE threat model categories and c) analyzed whether perceived severity varied across those categories. The current study’s results suggest not all consequences are perceived to be equally severe; likewise, not all STRIDE threat model categories are perceived to be equally severe. Implications for designing warning messages and modeling threats are discussed.

Keywords: attack, consequence, severity, perception, cybersecurity, cyber-attack, user

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002212

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