Presentation Title

Examining the Impact of Deterrence Perceptions on the Willingness to Commit Politically Motivated Cyber Attacks

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Abstract or Description

The Internet connectivity of critical infrastructure systems presents opportunities for attackers living in the United States or abroad to cause significant physical and financial damages. Although these concerns have been raised by scholars for several decades, cybercrime scholars in the social sciences have focused much of their efforts on studying cybercrimes against persons, such as online harassment, rather than cybercrimes against entities. The field has also surprisingly focused little on empirically examining the effect of deterrence in cyberspace rather than speculating on it. In one of the few studies on the topic, Holt and Kilger (2012) examined the factors that affected why college students may engage in politically motivated cybercrime attacks but did not examine deterrence perceptions. We build upon their work by examining whether perceptions of the certainty and severity of sanctions, participation in online personal violence, and peers affect college students’ willingness to participate in politically motivated cybercrime attacks, including attacks against critical infrastructure.


5th Annual Michigan State University Interdisciplinary Conference on Cybercrime


East Lansing, MI