Volume 13, Number 6

System End-User Actions as a Threat to Information System Security


Paulus Kautwima, Titus Haiduwa, Kundai Sai, Valerianus Hashiyana and Nalina Suresh, University of Namibia, Namibia


As universities migrate online due to the advent of Covid-19, there is a need for enhanced security in information systems in the institution of higher learning. Many opted to invest in technological approaches to mitigate cybersecurity threats; however, the most common types of cybersecurity breaches happen due to the human factor, well known as end-user error or actions. Thus, this study aimed to identify and explore possible end-user errors in academia and the resulting vulnerabilities and threats that could affect the integrity of the university's information system. The study further presented state-of-the-art humanoriented security threats countermeasures to compliment universities' cybersecurity plans. Countermeasures include well-tailored ICT policies, incident response procedures, and education to protect themselves from security events (disruption, distortion, and exploitation). Adopted is a mixedmethod research approach with a qualitative research design to guide the study. An open-ended questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used as data collection tools. Findings showed that system end-user errors remain the biggest security threat to information systems security in institutions of higher learning. Indeed errors make information systems vulnerable to certain cybersecurity attacks and, when exploited, put legitimate users, institutional network, and its computers at risk of contracting viruses, worms, Trojan, and expose it to spam, phishing, e-mail fraud, and other modern security attacks such as DDoS, session hijacking, replay attack and many more. Understanding that technology has failed to fully protect systems, specific recommendations are provided for the institution of higher education to consider improving employee actions and minimizing security incidents in their eLearning platforms, post Covid-19.


Information Systems, Security Threats, End-user errors, Human Factors, DDoS, Virus, Worms, Trojan.