Tag Archives: Technology

Developing a cybersecurity culture to influence employee behavior

Developing a cybersecurity culture to influence employee behavior

Jean-Loup Richet, IAE de Paris (Sorbonne Business School)


In our increasingly connected world, cybersecurity has become a critical concern for individuals, businesses, and governments alike. With the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks, it is more important than ever to raise awareness of cybersecurity risks and best practices. By promoting cybersecurity awareness, we can help protect ourselves and our data from malicious actors (Richet, 2021). Cybersecurity awareness helps to educate individuals about the dangers of cybercrime and the importance of taking steps to protect themselves online… But also to comply with organizational rules and deter them from deviant behaviors!

When it comes to deterring employee deviant behavior in information security, sanctions are one of the most commonly used methods. Organizations have long used sanctions as a way to deter employees from committing fraud. Sanctions can range from financial penalties to termination of employment.

However, research on this topic has been mixed, with some studies showing that sanctions are effective and others indicating that they are not. Trang & Brendel (2019) take a closer look at the role of sanctions in deterring employee deviant behavior and explore how contextual and methodological moderators can impact this deterrence approach. Their findings suggest that while sanctions have an overall effect on deviant behavior, their effectiveness depends on the context in which they are implemented and the methodology used to study them. In particular, they find that deterrence theory is more likely to predict deviant behavior in malicious contexts, cultures with a high degree of power distance, and cultures with high uncertainty avoidance. By understanding the moderating effect of these contextual and methodological factors, organizations can better design sanction mechanisms that are tailored to their specific needs and objectives.

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests organizations with strong cybersecurity cultures are better equipped to manage cyber risks, to protect their data and systems, but also to manage employee deviant behaviors. Practitioner research (IBM, 2021) found that organizations with a security-conscious culture are three times more likely to have comprehensive security programs in place and four times less likely to experience a data breach originating from an insider.

While the benefits of a strong cybersecurity culture are clear, developing such a culture is no easy task. Alshaikh (2020) identify and explain five key initiatives that three Australian organizations have implemented to improve their respective cyber security cultures. The five key initiatives are: identifying key cyber security behaviors, establishing a ‘cyber security champion’ network, developing a brand for the cyber team, building a cyber security hub, and aligning security awareness activities with internal and external campaigns. These key initiatives have helped organizations exceed minimal standards-compliance to create functional cyber security cultures. Organizations looking to improve their cybersecurity culture should consider implementing some or all of these five key initiatives. By doing so, they will be better positioned to manage cyber risks and protect their data and systems. It will also help them to create a culture of security within organizations, making it more likely that employees will report suspicious activity, take precautions to prevent attacks, and comply with information security policy. In addition, raising awareness of cybersecurity issues can help to better inform policymakers as they work to enact laws and regulations to promote cybersecurity and protect our interconnected world.


Alshaikh, M. (2020). Developing cybersecurity culture to influence employee behavior: A practice perspective. Computers & Security, 98, 102003.

IBM. (2021). Cyber Resilient Organization Study 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.ibm.com/resources/guides/cyber-resilient-organization-study/

Richet, J.L. (2021). Trends in Cybercrime: Cases the Banking Sector. BPI France, Jun 2021, Paris, France. 2021.

Trang, S., & Brendel, B. (2019). A meta-analysis of deterrence theory in information security policy compliance research. Information Systems Frontiers, 21(6), 1265-1284.

Developing a cybersecurity culture to influence employee behavior

Using Escape Room to Gamify Cybersecurity Learning

Serious games are particularly popular in Business Schools and universities: we are used to run business simulations, marketing games, project management role-playing games, etc.

I have always been fond of gamification and engaging alternatives for learning complex topics (cybersecurity is one of them) and was always pushing the boundaries (how to teach technical and engineering topics to managers?). Hence, I developed at the Sorbonne an escape room for cybersecurity – a live action team game, where players are hackers/industrial theft and have to exploit cybersecurity vulnerabilities in order to steal confidential and strategic business data.


The game was designed for MBA and master students and comprised multiple activities … and even a lockpicking test! This is the kind of lockpicking game one could encounter at the Black Hat Conference or Defcon for instance, so it wasn’t complex (all the teams succeed).

Of course, this game would not have been possible without the talented project team at the Sorbonne Business School that made the project come alive! Congrats again to this highly motivated team of students for their hard work (Simone, Charline, Alice, Emma, Florine and Guillaume).
And thanks to Melodia and Antoine @ NTT for their technical support for this event 🙂

The game has been conceived and played in French, but it is currently being translated in English. I intent to publish it here in the coming months.

Cybercrime and Law Enforcement Training


In this article, we discuss law enforcement initiative to respond to cybercrime and its undermining issues (fear, dependencies, culture). This paper highlights the need for a set of globally ratified cybercrime regulations through which the retribution of cybercriminals can be more heavily enforced.

Cybercrime, transnational, collaboration, prevention, law enforcement, education, user awareness, regulations


Recently a new bill was announced by Representative Katherine Clark in order to train more federal enforcement in dealing with cybercrime. This Cybercrime Enforcement Training Assistance Act would provide 20 million dollars for law enforcement to get a grip on an area of crime which is evolving faster than anyone can keep up with it. As David Wall (2007) wrote, before we have completely understood a certain criminal technique involving the internet, the information we have already seems to be outdated. How then can we truly train a group of people to deal with this type of crime whose nature is ever-changing?

Fear for Technology

Although the type of crime is continuously changing, there is nothing new to the idea that technology is something harmful and to be feared: a certain fear of technology has always been part of our lives. It is this fear that is at least partly responsible for the decision of a company like AT&T to not invest in the cell phone market in the early 1980s. “Using mathematical forecasts, the consultants anticipated cell phones being a niche market and not one AT&T should waste its time with,” wrote Ryan Stelzer, co-founder of Strategy of Mind.

But what is this fear based on? Technology is to be understood as a mechanism of understanding the world around us; its need to impose order belongs specifically to this epoch that we live in (Edwards, 2006, pp. 61-62). Technology is that mechanism which frames our reactions and our lives. Interestingly enough, our fear of the internet and new technologies to take over our lives is already part of this technological outlook on life itself. Technology is no longer limited to a specific gadget, it is a total mechanism within life takes place.

Increasing dependency

But as technology takes an ever increasing role in our lives, the way to control and limit its negative uses is underdeveloped. A group of researcher at Team Cymru (2006) already showed how “insufficient training, limited resources (personnel, equipment, budget), barriers to cooperation, outdated or non-existent legal remedies, a paucity of cross-border cooperation, high-latency cross-border cooperation processes, and individual organizations’ cultural paradigms create a fertile ground for success in cybercrime.” And this seems to not even consider our increasing dependency, the global aspects involved and the sheer amount of money and people that are affected by technology nowadays.

But should we reread science fiction novels like ‘Neuromancer’ by William Gibson (1984), so as to get an understanding of the direction we are heading when we let cybercriminals become the powerful leading sources of information and money? Or are powerful AI’s going to take over, limiting our options for us?

Limiting freedom

Perhaps thinking in these terms that science fiction writers started to introduce us with in the 60s and 70s does not bring us any closer to finding a way to handle the ever-increasing and changing cybercrime. Yet it does put a sore finger on what is stopping us from solving it. When in 2001 a convention on cybercrime was signed by the European States, and the United States, Japan, Canada and South-Africa, people started to question whether the US should actually ratify such an agreement. Fighting crime is one thing, but the more important question in these debates seems to be to as to how individual’s rights are protected.

That this is difficult question in a country where it is in many places deemed legal and even necessary for individuals to arm themselves in public places. Limiting the individual, and thus the hacker, is an infringement of one’s own personal rights to enter a door that one is allowed to enter. The recent debate as to whether large companies such as Apple and Google should open up their encryption to law enforcement so that criminals can be traced, tracked, spied upon, seems to take on the same form. Protecting the individual freedom is more important than protecting the individual. Or are we only dealing with this fear for technology taking over our lives, and limiting our lives, instead of really talking about the issues at hand?

The need for law to enforce

In order to deal with the vast area of cybercrime, from the manner in which big data is used by corporations to the network of money mules and individual hackers, we don’t just need to train law enforcement. We need to give them the laws they need in order to stop crime from taking place. The basis would require the harmonization of international law (Calderoni, 2010) which is more than national laws able to meets the global and changing demands that cybercrime requires. And it is questionable whether the convention on cybercrime from 2001 goes far enough to deal with this (Gercke, 2006). Because the growing dependency, together with the human fear of change, makes technology to be much more than simply a possible criminal means when it comes in the hands of the wrong people. Our technological lives are no longer distinguishable from the technology itself, the Internet of Things is not something out there, it is already in the personal, private space of individuals. And when we want to make sure this technology does not limit our personal freedoms, we need to let international law limit our freedoms – unless we want to live the future science fiction has shown us.


Calderoni, F. (2010). The European legal framework on cybercrime: striving for an effective implementation. In: Crime, Law and Social Change 54.

Edwards, J.C. (2006) Concepts of Technology and Their Role in Moral Reflection. In: Surgically Shaing Children, Technology, Ethics, and the Pursuit of Normalcy. Parens, E. (eds.) John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Gercke, M. (2006). The slow wake of a global approach against cybercrime: The potential of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime as international model law. Computer Law Review International.

Gibson, W. (1984). Neuromancer. Penguin New York.

Team Cymru (2006). Cybercrime: An Epidemic. ACM Queue Magazine, Volume 4 Issue 9, November 2006.

Wall, D. S. (2007). Cybercrime, The Transformation of Crime in the Information Age. Polity Cambridge.

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