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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

It won't happen to me: Surveying SME attitudes to cybersecurity

Wilson, Martin, McDonald, Sharon, Button, Dominic and McGarry, Kenneth (2022) It won't happen to me: Surveying SME attitudes to cybersecurity. Journal of Computer Information Systems. ISSN 2380-2057 (In Press)

Item Type: Article


We report an online survey of 85 U.K-based SMEs that explored their threat and coping appraisals towards five common types of cyber-attack: Network being hacked; Data being stolen or encrypted; malware infection; mobile devices being compromised; and phishing email attack. Overall, SMEs’ reported assessment of the risk of an attack was low, particularly for the possibility of their business network being hacked or their data being stolen or encrypted. However, there was an incongruence in their Threat Appraisals since, while they believed the risks to be low, they reported that the impact would be high. In terms of Coping Appraisal, respondents indicated that measures to prevent such attacks were both inexpensive and effective. However, their reported self-efficacy was significantly lower for keeping mobile devices safe and avoiding phishing attacks. We discuss these results taking into consideration additional qualitative data and provide recommendations for SME engagement.

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More Information

Depositing User: Sharon Mcdonald


Item ID: 14751
ISSN: 2380-2057
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Kenneth McGarry: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2022 11:00
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2023 02:38


Author: Kenneth McGarry ORCID iD
Author: Martin Wilson
Author: Sharon McDonald
Author: Dominic Button

University Divisions

Faculty of Technology > School of Computer Science


Computing > Information Systems

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