1 A PRELIMINARY STUDY EXAMINING THE SECURITY PRACTICES OF HISPANIC COLLEGE STUDENTS Robert Crossler Marco A. Villarreal Francis Kofi Andoh-Baidoo Track: Information Security & Privacy ABSTRACT This paper is a preliminary study of the college level Hispanics computer security practices and behaviors. Hispanics comprise 14% of the U.S. adult population and about half of this growing group (56%) goes online. By comparison, 71% of non-hispanic whites and 60% of non-hispanic blacks use the internet. Several socio-economic characteristics that are often intertwined, such as low levels of education and limited English ability, largely explain the gap in internet use between Hispanics and non-hispanics. The lack of research in the area of Hispanics computer behavior has prompted this study. Keywords: Hispanics, PC security, College students Introduction Hispanics comprise 14% of the U.S. adult population and about half of this growing group (56%) goes online. By comparison, 71% of non-hispanic whites and 60% of non- Hispanic blacks use the internet (Fox and Livingston, 2009). Several socio-economic characteristics that are often intertwined, such as low levels of education and limited English ability, largely explain the gap in internet use between Hispanics and non-hispanics (Hacker and Steiner, 2002). This fast growing segment of inexperienced computer users is the area of research that is developing as quickly as the segment (Korgen, Odell, and Schumacher, 2001). Their attitudes and beliefs towards secure and privacy protection of computers and their use is of research interest. To study these perceptions a specific segment of Hispanics is selected to be surveyed. As discussed in the background section, there is only a specific segment of Hispanics that use the
2 internet via a computer. It is this background section that allows us to make the best selection to survey. Following the background section of the paper, the statement of the problem and objectives section of the paper clarifies the directions of the study. The paper then continues with the methodology, results and discussion and ends with the conclusion. Background By the merging of data from two surveys (the 2006 National Survey of Hispanics, and the 2006 Hispanic Religion Survey) the comprised information revealed several interesting results about Hispanics and their internet use. The first interesting result is that fifty-six percent of Hispanics in the U.S. use the internet. Other results of interest are as follows: 78% of Hispanics who are English-dominant and 76% of bilingual Hispanics use the internet, compared with 32% of Spanish-dominant Hispanic adults. This indicates that just one in three Hispanics who speak only Spanish go online. 76% of U.S.-born Hispanics go online, compared with 43% of those born outside the U.S. Some of this is related to language, but analysis shows that being born outside of the 50 states is an independent factor that is associated with a decreased likelihood of going online. 80% of second-generation Hispanics, the sons and daughters of immigrants, go online, as do 71% of third-generation Hispanics. 89% of Hispanics who have a college degree, 70% of Hispanics who completed high school, and 31% of Hispanics who did not complete high school go online. Differences in levels of education and English proficiency explain much of the difference in internet usage of Hispanics (Slate, Manuel, and Brinson, 2002). Other factors in usage are availability of computers and the internet. For example just 29% of Hispanic adults have a broadband connection at home, compared with 43% of white adults. This is mostly due to the fact that Hispanic internet users are less likely than non-hispanic white internet users to have any type of internet connection at home (79% compared to 92%) (Hacker and Steiner, 2002). Among the 79% of Hispanics who do have a home internet connection, 66% have a broadband connection, which is actually similar to the rate among non- Hispanic white internet users with a home connection (68%)(Fox and Livingston, 2007). Statement of the Problem / Objective Hispanics are a fast growing segment of the Internet population yet their experience with the internet and similar technology is rather low. Therefore, it is the objective of this paper to research the Hispanics internet population s familiarity with computer security and privacy issues.
3 Methodology To collect data regarding the steps that students take to protect the security of their PC s the survey methodology was used. Data was collected from students enrolled in one of six different entry level Computer Information Systems classes at a Hispanic serving institution. Students were given class time to complete surveys and were assured that their responses would be anonymous and that no personally identifiable information was being collected. Demographic questions were also asked. The demographic questions were taken from 2010 United States Census form (United State Census 2010). After the data had been collected and analyzed the results were presented to the students, in aggregate, as a means to facilitate a discussion on information security. Results and Discussion In total, 254 surveys were collected. 63.4% of the respondents were female and 36.6% were male. The average age of respondents was 20.71, with a median age of 20. The minimum age of respondents was 18 and the maximum age was 57. The majority of respondents had annual household income less than $50,000 with 37.8% having less than $25,000 of annual household income. 22% had household income between $25,000 and $50, % of respondents were Hispanic. A summation of demographics is presented in Table 1. Table 1. Summary Demographics Panel A. Categorical Variables Question Categories Number Percentage Gender Female Male Household Income Less than $25, $25,000 to $50, $50,000 to $75, $75,000 to $100, Greater than $100, Hispanic Origin No Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano Puerto Rican Cuban Other Panel B. Continuous Variables Question Mean Minimum Maximum Age
4 Table 2 presents the response of the college students to the specific research questions posed. The questions include the operating systems used, the use of anti-virus software, data backup practices, software update practices and password practices. Table 2. Summary of Survey Responses Operating Systems (254 respondents) 216 use Windows Operating Systems on their PC s. Windows OS users - Anti-Virus Software (216 respondents) 87% use Anti-Virus software, with 9% not using any Anti-Virus software, While 4% uncertain of whether or not they are utilizing any Anti-Virus software. Windows OS users - Anti-Virus Software Updating (188 respondents) 13% check for updates Daily, 26% Weekly, 12% less than Monthly, 22% Monthly, and 28% Do Not Know. Back Up Data (254 respondents) 4% of users Backup their data every day, 10% Weekly, 17% Monthly, 46% Rarely, and 24% do not know the last time they backed up their data. Firewall (250 respondents) 65% Have a firewall on their machine, 12% Do Not Have, and 24% Do Not Know. Operating Systems Updates (250 respondents) 70% use automatically updates, 2% check Daily, 8% check Weekly, 8% Never check, and 8% Do Not Know. Non OS Updates (250 respondents) 2% check for updates Daily, 10% check Weekly, 14% Monthly, 40% Rarely, and 34% Do Not Know. Change Password (250 respondents) 4% change their passwords Monthly, 10% every 3 Months, 15% every 6 Months, 12% every Year, and 59% almost Never change their password. Write Down Password 22% write their passwords down and 78% do not. Share Password 19% share their passwords and 81% do not.
5 To determine whether demographics played a role in determining the security practices of individuals, all of the reported behaviors discussed above were regressed with demographic variables to determine correlation. Gender was found to affect both running Anti Virus software updates and non-operating System software updates, with men more likely to perform both of these tasks. Income level is correlated with using firewall software and sharing passwords, with people of lower income being more likely to share their passwords. Age and income regressed on the factor of firewall software usage, revealed that higher income and ages18 to 21 year old were most likely to use firewall software. Conclusions Hispanics comprise 14% of the U.S. adult population and about half of this growing group (56%) goes online. Although security and privacy are important research areas, there is lack of research on Hispanics. This paper is a preliminary study of the college level Hispanics computer security practices and behaviors. Our research reveals that a sizable percentage of Hispanic college students do not pay serious attention to security issues such as data back, privacy and protecting software and hardware through effective use of security mechanisms such as anti-virus. Although this study is preliminary, it provides a roadmap from which a more comprehensive study can be made. Another possible future research would include expanding the data to include non-hispanic students from which comparative analysis can be made. REFERENCES United State Census Fox, S. and Livingston,G. (2009), Latinos Online, : Narrowing the Gap, Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C. (December 22, 2009). Fox, S. and Livingston,G. (2007) Latinos Online: Hispanics with Lower Levels of Education and English Proficiency Remain Largely Disconnected from the Internet, Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C. (March 17, 2007). Hacker, Kenneth L.; Steiner, Robert (2002). "The Digital Divide for Hispanic Americans" Howard Journal of Communications 13.4, 12 Oct Slate, John R.; Manuel, Margaret; Brinson, Kenneth H. (2002). "The "Digital Divide": Hispanic college students' views of educational uses of the Internet" Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 27.1, 12 Oct Korgen, K., Odell, P. and Schumacher, P. (2001). Internet use among college students: Are there differences by race/ethnicity? Electronic Journal of Sociology, 2(2).