Online Decision Making: Online influence and Implications for Cyber Security.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding online decision making is becoming increasingly important within cybersecurity concerns given the mass information and access available to the general population. In previous generations, the Internet was primarily inhabited by computer scientists or programmers. However the evolution of Web 2.0 and its capabilities of permitting user-generated platforms such as social networking sites, has subsequently meant access and content-generation is available to the masses. As such, the monitoring and auditing of online content is a substantial task, resulting in much online content, regardless of its authenticity, being accessible to the masses. Resultantly, online users face a wealth of content, upon which they are required to make a number of decisions (e.g., is this content harmful?; should I trust this website?; how secure is this online payment system?; who is the source of this content and are they trustworthy? etc). Understanding online decision making is therefore becoming an increasingly demanding issue and requires exploration in the context of its relationship to cybersecurity. As an example, ongoing work is being invested in respect of fake news detection as well as preventative measures for this (Farajtabar et al., 2017; Shu, Silva, Wang, Tang & Liu, 2017). The recency of this agenda highlights the currency of these issues in contemporary society. Moreover, the accessibility afforded by online technologies has been shown to offer numerous benefits to individuals ranging from increasing educational provision (Attwell, 2007; Cook, Levinson, Garside, Dupras, Erwin, & Montori, 2008) to improving physical and mental health support (Eysenbach, 2001; Kalichman, Benotsch, Weinhardt, Austin, Luke, & Cherry, 2003). However, the growth in Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) has also created real challenges for society; in particular, the Internet has become an important resource for ‘convincing’ or persuading a person to make a decision to do (or not do) something. Although concepts such as persuasion and decision making refer to distinct processes this Chapter considers the interplay between these related concepts. This Chapter will begin by defining decision making and outlining some evidence surrounding decision making across a range of online contexts. The second half of the chapter considers related theories of persuasion and attitude and behaviour change and discusses the factors that have been shown to influence attitude and behaviour change online. The chapter concludes by acknowledging that research investigating online decision making is broad in scope and often tends to have a different focus to offline research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychological and Behavioral Examinations in Cyber Security
EditorsJohn McAlaney, Lara Frumkin, Vladlena Benson
PublisherIGI Global
ISBN (Print)9781522540533
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Digital Crime, Forensics and Cyber Terrorism


  • cyber crime


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