An investigation of students' perception of Bluetooth security
Aguilar, Kathrine Sagala
Date of Issue2012
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Purpose – Various research investigations have found that students' awareness of information security issues continues to be poor and this is indeed a concern especially when students use information technologies pervasively to communicate, to socialize as well as to work on academic assignments. As it is important to understand students' behaviors towards information security and safety in the digital cyberspace, the purpose of this paper is to investigate their awareness and perception, in particular, of Bluetooth security threats and risks, and whether they are able to take preventive measures to protect themselves from such security vulnerabilities. Bluetooth technology is used in this study as it is a widely used form of wireless networks that facilitates computing resources to be connected anytime anywhere; however, it has security weaknesses like any other digital networks. Design/methodology/approach – A field survey was conducted to collect the empirical data from students at a local university. The survey instrument/questionnaire was developed based on various literatures on Bluetooth applications, Bluetooth security vulnerabilities, and users' usage and perception on computer security and safety. Findings – The results show that most students do not take precautions to mitigate against security vulnerabilities; however, there is a difference on students' perceptions based on their academic major or domain knowledge, for instance, engineering students have demonstrated significant awareness of security risks compared to students from the business and social science colleges. It is therefore not surprising to note that engineering students are more cautious users of Bluetooth, hence are more secure users of technologies. Practical implications – The findings provide useful information for academic institutions to understand students' behavior towards security risks especially in terms of identity theft, unsecured systems and inadequate security practices. Indeed, the findings of this study highlight or emphasize the importance of promoting security awareness to student cohorts especially on the use of mobile computing applications such as Bluetooth or wireless. Perhaps, universities should design curriculum to incorporate the study of information and cyber security so as to inculcate a culture of cyber safety as well as to prepare these prospective employees as more secured users when they enter the workplace. Indeed, considering the increasing number of users who tend to be naïve on security vulnerabilities, this research adds a critical message also to manufacturers and software developers to design more robust security features so as to minimize security breaches. Originality/value – This paper provides further evidence to the body of research investigations on information and computing security threats and students' perceptions and behavior towards security risks and vulnerabilities. More important, this paper confirms that most students are not secure users, and it seems they not very capable of protecting themselves from security threats.
Information management & computer security