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The Need for Effective Information Security Awareness

Fadi A. Aloul
Department of Computer Science & Engineering, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
Abstract—Security awareness is an often-overlooked factor in an information security program. While organizations expand their use of advanced security technology and continuously train their security professionals, very little is used to increase the security awareness among the normal users, making them the weakest link in any organization. As a result, today, organized cyber criminals are putting significant efforts to research and develop advanced hacking methods that can be used to steal money and information from the general public. Furthermore, the high internet penetration growth rate in the Middle East and the limited security awareness among users is making it an attractive target for cyber criminals. In this paper, we will show the need for security awareness programs in schools, universities, governments, and private organizations in the Middle East by presenting results of several security awareness studies conducted among students and professionals in UAE in 2010. This includes a comprehensive wireless security survey in which thousands of access points were detected in Dubai and Sharjah most of which are either unprotected or employ weak types of protection. Another study focuses on evaluating the chances of general users to fall victims to phishing attacks which can be used to steal bank and personal information. Furthermore, a study of the user’s awareness of privacy issues when using RFID technology is presented. Finally, we discuss several key factors that are necessary to develop a successful information security awareness program.

Index Terms—Information Security, Security Awareness, Security Audits, Phishing Attacks, Wireless Security, RFID Security, UAE

Cite: Fadi A. Aloul, "The Need for Effective Information Security Awareness," Journal of Advances in Information Technology, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 176-183, August, 2012.doi:10.4304/jait.3.3.176-183
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