Assessing the Level of Knowledge About Cybercrimes Among Young Adults Within the United Arab Emirates

Sarah Omar Bamatraf

Abstract


ASSESSING THE LEVEL OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CYBERCRIMES AMONG YOUNG ADULTS WITHIN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Dr. Fatme Al Anouti Assistant Professor, Health Sciences Alumnae & Internship Coordinator Zayed University Tel 02-5993810 Mob. 0503019807 Fatme.AlAnouti@zu.ac.ae

Background: Our lives have tremendously changed because of technological innovations. Over the last few decades, there has been a remarkable increase in the use and reliance on internet and digital technology for research, education, healthcare, business and even fun. Despite the valuable convenience and benefits technology has added to our life styles, there is a serious risk associated with the reliance on such digital technology. Sometimes confidential and private information becomes accessible for hackers who launch unexpected attacks and as a result many individuals might fall victims for cybercrime attacks. The incidence of such cybercrime attacks has increased drastically over the last few years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which enjoys an advanced telecommunication network coverage. According to police reports, most cybercrime victims are young adults because they heavily use the internet for their day to day activities. Aim: The purpose of the study is to assess the level of knowledge about cybercrimes among a representative sample of young adult Emiratis. Design: This study uses a cross-sectional study design. Methodology: The participants were 130 students (113 females and 17 males) from two different universities namely Zayed University and Abu Dhabi university both in the capital city of the UAE. All participants completed an online questionnaire that was adapted from the Cybercrime Knowledge Questionnaire; developed by Katz, 2005. The online version of the questionnaire was sent to all students through campus announcement and twitter. It was utilized to calculate the cybercrime awareness index (CAI) which reflected the level of knowledge about cybercrimes by university students. Results: The mean value for CAI indicated a medium level of knowledge about cybercrimes by students. Only 32% of the participants had a high or adequate level of knowledge while the rest had low to medium levels of knowledge. There was a statistically significant difference in the level of knowledge in terms of student major but not gender. Students specializing in Computer Information Technology (accounting for 21.5% of the participants) had the highest levels of knowledge as compared to all other students from other majors. This was in concordance with another finding in the study which revealed a strong correlation between the level of knowledge and the use of the internet/digital technology. Participants with heavy use of internet technology had a high level of knowledge about cybercrimes. Conclusions: In conclusion, the findings of this study demonstrated that the level of knowledge about cybercrimes among university students is not adequate. These young adults should be more educated about the risks of technology use in terms of cybercrime attacks. Future research could focus on developing strategies to raise awareness and alert students to the risks of being victims of cybercrimes.


Keywords


Cybercrime; Cyber awareness; Cyber victims.

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