Online security attack experience and worries of young adults in the United Kingdom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Online security issues continue to grow as a concern, amplified by the coronavirus pandemic. The current cohort of young people (aged 18 – 30, “Generation Z”) are the first to have grown up with digital technologies, but to what extent are they worried about online security attacks and what experience do they have of them? An online survey of 81 young UK participants investigated their experience with 12 scenarios presenting online security attacks, asked about their level of worry with 9 online security attacks and their knowledge of computer and online security, and their confidence in their ability to identity an attack. Experience with the online attacks ranged widely, from over 50% of participants experiencing spear phishing to attempt identity theft, to only 2.5% experiencing a spoofed website. A principal components analysis showed that worries clearly fell into two components: Theft Worry and Phishing Worry. Levels of worry on these two components could be predicted from the number of different online security attacks participants had experienced. These relationships may be useful for developing education and advice to encourage better online security behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Aspects of Information Security and Assurance (HAISA 2022)IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-12172-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-12171-5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2022
EventIFIP International Symposium on Human Aspects of Information Security & Assurance - Mytilene, Greece
Duration: 6 Jul 20227 Jul 2022
Conference number: 16


ConferenceIFIP International Symposium on Human Aspects of Information Security & Assurance
Abbreviated titleHAISA 2022
Internet address

Bibliographical note

This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • security attack experience
  • security worry
  • young adult
  • generation z
  • Phishing
  • ransomware
  • identity theft

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