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Communications of the Association for Information Systems

Abstract

Cybercrime against critical infrastructure such as nuclear reactors, power plants, and dams has been increasing in frequency and severity. Recent literature regarding these types of attacks has been extensive but due to the sensitive nature of this field, there is very little empirical data. We address these issues by integrating Routine Activity Theory and Rational Choice Theory, and we create a classification tool called TRACI (Taxonomy for Risk Assessment of Cyberattacks on Critical Infrastructure). We take a Design Science Research approach to develop, evaluate, and refine the proposed artifact. We use mix methods to demonstrate that our taxonomy can successfully capture the characteristics of various cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. TRACI consists of three dimensions, and each dimension contains its own subdimensions. The first dimension comprises of hacker motivation, which can be financial, socio-cultural, thrill-seeking, and/or economic. The second dimension represents the assets such as cyber, physical, and/or cyber-physical components. The third dimension is related to threats, vulnerabilities, and controls that are fundamental to establishing and maintaining an information security posture and overall cyber resilience. Our work is among the first to utilize criminological theories and Design Science to create an empirically validated artifact for improving critical infrastructure risk management.

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