Victim’s Negative Emotion Processes In Cybersecurity Breach Situations: A Testimony of Anger and Fear-Related Emotion Processes

18 Pages Posted: 26 May 2022

See all articles by Sanja Budimir

Sanja Budimir

Ghent University,Department of Work, Organisation and Society

Johnny R.J. Fontaine

Eindhoven University of Technology

Antal Haans

Eindhoven University of Technology

Nicole M.A. Huijts

Eindhoven University of Technology

George Loukas

University of Greenwich

Etienne B. Roesch

University of Reading

Date Written: May 6, 2022

Abstract

The numerous benefits of increased internet connection are accompanied by a growing number of cybersecurity breaches. The successful protection of users’ wellbeing and their security, premised on preventative training and effective care of victims, requires an understanding of their experiences. To map this landscape, we explored a spectrum of emotional experiences in cyber security breach situations from the victim’s perspective. Participants (N=130) were asked to describe a cybersecurity breach on an Internet of Things device, computer, smartphone, email, or social network account they experienced themselves or heard about from friends or the media. They were asked to report their personal or anticipated emotional experiences in that situation, based on Scherer’s Components Process Model (Scherer, 2001) of emotions and emotion regulation. Answers were qualitatively analyzed by coding them into categories of emotion process components within the GRID framework (Fontaine et al., 2013) and for emotion regulation within the Conceptual Integration Model (Connor-Smith & Flachsbart, 2007). The most frequently reported emotion processes in cybersecurity breach situations include: (i) the appraisals privacy intrusion, unknown and no control, (ii) the action tendencies intervention, defensive and attack, (iii) the expressions of high vocal energy, abrupt movement, eyes closed/tears, (iv) the bodily responses high autonomic arousal, distress, high temperature, (v) the subjective feelings fear, anger and anxiety and (vi) the emotion regulations instrumental support, relaxation and suppression. This profile of reactions is similar to the emotional experiences of victims of physical security breaches (e.g. burglary), but with specific characteristics of uncertainty, unknown consequences and absence of punishment.

Keywords: Cybersecurity breach victims, emotion processes, componential emotion model

Suggested Citation

Budimir, Sanja and Fontaine, Johnny R.J. and Haans, Antal and Huijts, Nicole M.A. and Loukas, George and Roesch, Etienne B., Victim’s Negative Emotion Processes In Cybersecurity Breach Situations: A Testimony of Anger and Fear-Related Emotion Processes (May 6, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4101947 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4101947

Sanja Budimir (Contact Author)

Ghent University,Department of Work, Organisation and Society ( email )

Henri Dunantlaan 2
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Johnny R.J. Fontaine

Eindhoven University of Technology ( email )

Antal Haans

Eindhoven University of Technology ( email )

Nicole M.A. Huijts

Eindhoven University of Technology ( email )

George Loukas

University of Greenwich ( email )

30 Park Row
Greenwich
London, SE10 9LS
United Kingdom

Etienne B. Roesch

University of Reading ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

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