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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

Due to the ever-increasing use of the Internet, information security has become a critical issue in society. This is especially the case for young adults who have different attitudes towards information security practices. In this research, we examine factors that motivate college students’ information security behaviors. Based on the concept of fear arousal in the presence of a threatened event, a well-founded theory known as Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) is adopted in the research model. Social norms and habit factors are integrated to the model as a means to assess students’ behaviors of information security. A survey of 202 responses is used to test the designed model using structural equation modeling to analyze relationships among variables. Results indicated that students are very motivated to practice information security if they perceive high levels of severity, response efficacy, response costs and self-efficacy. Their intentions, however, are not affected by perceived vulnerability or by social influence. Our findings suggest that PMT is a valuable model for predicting students’ attitudes towards information security and that their motivation is influenced by education in security awareness and understanding severity of such issues.

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