UbiSec research and development work focuses on reducing the emotional and financial harms caused by transnational cyber-enabled crime and social engineering.
The development of the Security Quotient risk profiling model was informed through hands on experience triaging and responding to thousands of cybercrime and cybersecurity incidents and the belief that behavioural qualities and Big Five personality traits may pre-dispose internet users to falling victim to socio-technical attacks like phishing and online scams and fraud.
Two years of research funded by InternetNZ identified several common risk factors shared by cybercrime victims:
- Cybercrime victims were found to be less confident at online safety and security practices, scoring 10% lower on tests and demonstrating the value of awareness and education programmes.
- Those identified by the Security Quotient model as Very High Risk exhibited a personal risk appetite on average 16% higher than non victims. Smokers – a known high risk behaviour – were 2.5 times more likely to have suffered a financial loss.
- Being ‘future focused’ was a protective characteristic with those not actively investing in their future retirement twice as likely to have suffered a financial loss. A majority of victims were also noted to not exercise showing links to overall lifestyle factors.
- Overall, individuals who had suffered the highest number of cybersecurity incidents were more likely to smoke, take less exercise and not be saving towards their future.