TitleMachine Learning and Survey-based Predictors of InfoSec Non-Compliance
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMarshall, B, Curry, M, Correia, J, Crossler, RE
JournalACM Transactions on Management Information Systems
Date Published2021
KeywordsAccounting, BIS

Survey items developed in behavioral Information Security (InfoSec) research should be practically useful in identifying individuals who are likely to create risk by failing to comply with InfoSec guidance. The literature shows that attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions drive compliance behavior and has influenced the creation of a multitude of training programs focused on improving ones’ InfoSec behaviors. While automated controls and directly observable technical indicators are generally preferred by InfoSec practitioners, difficult-to-monitor user actions can still compromise the effectiveness of automatic controls. For example, despite prohibition, doubtful or skeptical employees often increase organizational risk by using the same password to authenticate corporate and external services. Analysis of network traffic or device configurations is unlikely to provide evidence of these vulnerabilities but responses to well-designed surveys might. Guided by the relatively new IPAM model, this study administered 96 survey items from the Behavioral InfoSec literature, across three separate points in time, to 217 respondents. Using systematic feature selection techniques, manageable subsets of 29, 20, and 15 items were identified and tested as predictors of non-compliance with security policy. The feature selection process validates IPAM's innovation in using nuanced self-efficacy and planning items across multiple time frames. Prediction models were trained using several ML algorithms. Practically useful levels of prediction accuracy were achieved with, for example, ensemble tree models identifying 69% of the riskiest individuals within the top 25% of the sample. The findings indicate the usefulness of psychometric items from the behavioral InfoSec in guiding training programs and other cybersecurity control activities and demonstrate that they are promising as additional inputs to AI models that monitor networks for security events.