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Properties for Cybersecurity Awareness Posters’ Design and Quality Assessment


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Posters are widely in practice to communicate cybersecurity awareness (CSA) messages. This popularity could be because it is one of the simplest mechanisms, and most people are accustomed to poster usage. Despite this, very little effort has been made to make the CSA poster design and assessment more systematic. Due to this, there exists a wide variation in CSA poster design. Alarmingly, many of them do not align with the needs and objectives of CSA. This study, therefore, intends to collect and analyze the properties that can guide the production of more uniform and effective posters for CSA purposes. At the same time, the study contributes to making the poster design and quality assessment approach more systematic. In order to do so, this study used a literature review for the elicitation of properties and an online assessment to analyze the relevancy of the elicited properties. As a final result, the study provides six main properties (i.e., topic, information quality, message framing, suggestions quality, content presentation, localization, and style and formatting) and their respective twenty-one sub-properties that can facilitate CSA poster design and its quality assessment.
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Properties for Cybersecurity Awareness Posters’ Design and
ality Assessment
Sunil Chaudhary
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Gjøvik, Norway
Marko Kompara
University of Maribor
Maribor, Slovenia
Sebastian Pape
Goethe University
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Vasileios Gkioulos
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Gjøvik, Norway
Posters are widely in practice to communicate cybersecurity aware-
ness (CSA) messages. This popularity could be because it is one of
the simplest mechanisms, and most people are accustomed to poster
usage. Despite this, very little eort has been made to make the CSA
poster design and assessment more systematic. Due to this, there
exists a wide variation in CSA poster design. Alarmingly, many of
them do not align with the needs and objectives of CSA. This study,
therefore, intends to collect and analyze the properties that can
guide the production of more uniform and eective posters for CSA
purposes. At the same time, the study contributes to making the
poster design and quality assessment approach more systematic. In
order to do so, this study used a literature review for the elicitation
of properties and an online assessment to analyze the relevancy
of the elicited properties. As a nal result, the study provides six
main properties (i.e., topic, information quality, message framing,
suggestions quality, content presentation, localization, and style
and formatting) and their respective twenty-one sub-properties
that can facilitate CSA poster design and its quality assessment.
Security and privacy Human and societal aspects of se-
curity and privacy;Cybersecurity awareness.
cybersecurity awareness, poster design, poster quality assessment
ACM Reference Format:
Sunil Chaudhary, Marko Kompara, Sebastian Pape, and Vasileios Gkioulos.
2022. Properties for Cybersecurity Awareness Posters’ Design and Quality
Assessment. In The 17th International Conference on Availability, Reliability
and Security (ARES 2022), August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria. ACM, New
York, NY, USA, 8 pages.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International
4.0 License.
ARES 2022, August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria
©2022 Copyright held by the owner/author(s).
ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-9670-7/22/08.
Cybersecurity awareness (CSA) refers to being mindful of cyber-
security issues that aect one’s personal and professional life. It
primarily entails cognition (acquiring knowledge and comprehen-
sion of cybersecurity challenges), which leads to cybersecurity
behavioral adjustments brought about by positive changes in cy-
bersecurity attitudes [
] [
] . The ultimate purpose of CSA is
to persuade or motivate people to adopt secure behavior while
discouraging them from engaging in risky activities. This is best
accomplished by delivering the right security information in the
right amount and format to the right audience at the right time, via
the right dissemination channels. The information provided is often
enough to draw individuals’ attention to security risks, compre-
hend their potential consequences, and respond appropriately. CSA
activities are usually aimed at a large audience, who are primarily
passive recipients of the information [37].
CSA initiatives use various communication channels, for ex-
ample, posters, illustrations, videos, emails, infographics, comics,
brochures, websites, leaets, newspapers, events, games, and so
on, to reach and deliver the awareness message/information to the
target audience [
]. These communication channels have their
own advantages and disadvantages of using them [
]. Similar to
in other elds, such as advertisement, healthcare awareness, and
social issues awareness, posters are popular and common in CSA.
Many organizations including ENISA, EUROPOL, InfoSec Insti-
tute, SANS Institute, and Cyber Safe Work, produce and distribute
posters to raise the CSA of people. The popularity of a poster could
be because it is one of the simplest and cost-eective awareness
mechanisms and also people are largely accustomed to its usage.
Posters initially used to be a conventional method of CSA (i.e.,
generally uses textual and image content), but this has changed
with digital transformation. Utilizing digital technology, posters’
information richness [
] is easily improved, for example, posters
include a clickable link or QR code that directs interested people to
a website with detailed information on the subject or with a feed-
back form. Moreover, using mass media like email, social media,
and websites, such posters are eortlessly disseminated, and their
message is communicated to a mass audience.
Currently, CSA posters with one-line text and whole page text,
with and without images on them, with fancy and plain typography,
or with and without weblink are in use. With such diversications
in the poster, it is worthwhile to ask which design approach can
ARES 2022, August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria Sunil Chaudhary, Marko Kompara, Sebastian Pape, and Vasileios Gkioulos
be the most eective for CSA purposes. On the one hand, many
organizations depend on posters for CSA, whereas on the other
hand, very little eort has been made to make the poster more
uniform and eective for the purpose. For instance, it is still not
well-dened what message to include for an eective CSA poster.
Furthermore, the poster design and assessment are also largely
based on unsystematic approaches. Therefore, this study intends
to elicit and analyze the properties that can guide or be useful for
CSA poster design and its quality assessment. By properties, we
mean aspects like the content of a poster, the poster’s appearance,
and so on. To the best of our knowledge, there does not exist any
proper and comprehensive study to analyze and systematize poster
design and its quality assessment exclusively for CSA purposes.
Indeed, there exist many templates and guidelines for poster design,
however, they are fundamentally for scientic (i.e., research presen-
tation) [
], marketing (i.e., advertisement) [
], and other purposes
posters. Moreover, these available templates and guidelines do not
align with or fulll the specic needs and objectives of CSA.
The nature of cybersecurity, its sensitiveness, and the expecta-
tion from its awareness is vastly dierent from, for example, adver-
tisement, scientic research presentation, and even awareness of
healthcare and various social issues. Cyberspace and its security
are often considered to be complex in nature; unlike the physical
world the concepts of, for example, distance, border, proximity,
laws, thieves (bad people), and valuables are obscure. In cyberspace,
an individual from one country, regardless of its distance, border,
or legal system can attack and steal valuable data stored on servers
stationed in another country. Similarly, who is responsible for the
surveillance and protection of what is unclear. For example, in an
organization, it is well-dened that security guards are responsible
for surveilling and protecting its physical premises and property,
whereas the responsibility of surveilling and protecting its IT sys-
tems and assets from potential cyberattacks is on every employee.
Obscurities like these make cybersecurity a dicult concept to un-
derstand and comprehend for many people. And raising awareness
of this concept with the purpose to result in actions and a long-term
behavior change by using static information on posters is obviously
a challenging endeavor.
While there exists quite some work on how to measure security
awareness programs [
] [
] [
] [
], all of these address awareness
campaigns in general and none of them is specically targeting
posters. While posters were included in some of the awareness cam-
paigns [48] [8], they were not specically evaluated. Even though
Boujettif and Wang [
] asked participants to create and evaluate
posters, the hidden task was that the participants should deal with
the content on the posters. Neither were there specic design crite-
ria explained, besides the task to make the poster as creative and
as funny as possible, nor were there the results or criteria of the
evaluation discussed. Closest to our work is the work from Kajzer et
al. [
] who investigated in an experiment which message types on
a CSA poster were better memorized by the participants. However,
they did not assess the eects of the poster on the success of the
CSA campaign. Besides this work, to the best of our knowledge,
our work is the rst specically focusing on CSA posters.
In order to elicit the properties, we utilized a nonsystematic (pur-
posive) literature review (LR) [
]. In contrast to a systematic LR,
a nonsystematic LR is not obligated to be explicit about the meth-
ods, particularly, the search strategy and selection criteria used for
the identication and inclusion of relevant literature [
]. Elicit-
ing properties for poster design and quality assessment required
exploration of concepts from diverse disciplines and leveraging
them for the study’s purposes. This includes concepts both from
within and outside the cybersecurity discipline, notably but not
limited to message framing, usability and user experience, and user
psychology. And to cover such a wide range of elds and thereby
yield insights could not be achievable by using a systematic LR.
In addition, a nonsystematic LR provides the exibility to pursue
ideas and ndings that emerge unexpectedly during the process of
the review [14].
However, to ensure the quality of selected literature, we used
mostly peer-reviewed journal and conference papers, and reports
from organizations with a reputation for security research. The
elicited properties and their respective sub-properties are listed in
Figure 1. Apart from Style and Formatting, the remaining properties
are applicable to CSA when using other communication channels
than posters. The properties and their sub-properties, their meaning,
rationale, as well as viable mechanisms to apply them are explained
Figure 1: Properties for CSA Poster’s Design and Quality As-
3.1 Topic
3.1.1 Specific. The topic should focus on a single security issue at
a time [
]. Focusing on a variety of issues at the same time can be
Properties for Cybersecurity Awareness Posters’ Design and ality Assessment ARES 2022, August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria
complex, confusing, and more importantly, cognitively overloading
for the audience. Naturally, some topics may require discussion
on multiple related issues, for example, phishing includes email
phishing, website forgery, smishing, vishing, spear phishing, whal-
ing, clone phishing, and social engineering. Such a topic should
be appropriately broken down into smaller, more manageable, and
cognitively friendly sub-topics where each sub-topic is discussed
or organized separately.
3.1.2 Relevant. The topic should be relevant to and align with
the roles and responsibilities of the target audience (or the goals
and objectives of their organization) [
] [
]. More importantly,
it should be inclusive to cover everyone in the audience group [
This is important particularly to attract and catch the audience’s
attention towards the awareness initiative as well as posters. Many
organizations, notably ENISA [
], publish threat landscape reports
on a regular basis, and consulting these reports will help to identify
prime threats as well as major trends in threats, threat actors, and
attack techniques. However, a needs assessment [
] can be used
to determine the topics that are specically relevant to the target
audience group.
3.2 Information Quality
3.2.1 Credible and consistent. Accuracy and consistency in infor-
mation help to build trust [
], and trust fosters compliance [
]. As
a matter of fact, correctness represents one of the components of
7Cs for eective communication [
]. So, the information should
be correct (preferably as advised by cybersecurity experts or au-
thorized bodies [
]) and consistent in language, design, and more
importantly factual. Moreover, it should put a realistic perspective
(and not an exaggeration of the cybersecurity issue) [
], and no
information should conict with or contradict each other.
3.2.2 Complete. The basic information that the audience needs to
know and, if applicable, to act should be included [
]. For instance,
Entman’s [
] message-framing process, if adapted for a CSA pur-
pose, recommends including i) stating the problem or threat, ii)
explaining why it is relevant to the audience i.e., its eects and im-
pacts, iii) mechanisms to assess and identify it, and iv) its potential
preventions or mitigations. Interestingly, Arain et al.[
] found and
suggested including a similar list of information for CSA purposes.
Sometimes, when it is dicult to accommodate all the information
in a poster, a reference (as a web link) from where to get more
information should be included. Suggesting this reference could
motivate the interested audience to further explore it.
3.2.3 Up to date. Cybersecurity is dynamic in nature. So, the infor-
mation should continually manage to include current changes in
cyber risk proles [
]. They include the changes in security threats,
technologies, and protections and also in policies and procedures
] relevant to, for instance, the audience’s job functions. While
failing to do so will obviously minimize the impact of posters. More
alarmingly, equipping the audience with outdated cyber security
information (instead of the current one) could potentially do more
harm than good. As has been quoted by Daniel J. Boorstin, the
greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of
knowledge”, such supposedly aware people with a false sense of
security may misidentify or underestimate the cyber threats and
become more vulnerable to them.
3.3 Message Framing
3.3.1 Direct. The message should be explicitly directed at the audi-
ence [
]. A message is more likely to be accepted and acted upon if
the individual feels that it is explicitly directed at him or her rather
than generically to everyone. This means the message should be
more personalized to the audience and connect to the issues rel-
evant and stimulating to them. The message can be made more
direct and tangible by using evidence-based framing strategies [
for example,
Putting the need of cybersecurity in a practical context.
Making it apparent who the enemies are in the ght against
Putting a face to cybersecurity by highlighting its heroes
(i.e., the audience group).
Demonstrating the importance of cybersecurity to society.
Connecting cybersecurity to people’s daily lives.
3.3.2 Positive. The message should focus on good security habits
(i.e., informing what to do) rather than explaining bad security habits
(i.e., informing what not to do) and their consequences. Since secu-
rity is rarely the primary concern [
], so telling what to do and
how to do it correctly can be presumably more actionable. More-
over, a study has shown that positively framed messages are more
persuasive where there is little emphasis on details [
], which is
suitable in the case of CSA, which deals with providing enough in-
formation to make an individual stay vigilant about cyber risks and
know what to look out for [
]. Not to mention, fear and anxiety
undermine the cognitive capacity hampering the learning process
], and do not produce a positive impact on security behavior
whereas providing a coping message (i.e., information on how to
minimize exposure to risk) does [
] Then, there is always a risk
of experiencing psychological reactance [
] by some people, who
perceive that many of their online behaviors have been restricted
by the information on what not to do.
3.4 Suggestions Quality
3.4.1 Doable. In awareness, making clear calls for achievable ac-
tions is vital to motivate people to act [
]. As a result, the sug-
gestions made should be meaningful to the audience (i.e., avoid
impractical proposals) that they can correctly apply or implement.
With impractical suggestions, it is highly possible that the audience
would ignore or bypass them, and if applied, they could be incorrect.
Further, it has been discovered that the perceived ease of use has a
positive eect on security behavior [
]. However, the concept of
impracticability is contingent on the audience’s computer literacy
as well as their willingness and ability to learn new computer skills.
Nonetheless, the suggestions should include not just what to do but
also how to accomplish it.
3.4.2 Convenience. People always intend to achieve their primary
task, and in this process, security often becomes a secondary con-
cern [
]. So, applying the suggestions should not be taxing or
noticeably obstruct and slow down the primary responsibility of
the audience. Otherwise, the audience will nd ways to get around
ARES 2022, August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria Sunil Chaudhary, Marko Kompara, Sebastian Pape, and Vasileios Gkioulos
the suggestions [
]. Moreover, this is signicant since the perceived
cost of compliance has a detrimental eect on security behavior [
This also implies that the suggestions should facilitate achieving
the primary concern of the audience both smoothly and securely.
3.5 Content Presentation
3.5.1 Clarity. Clarity should be in both the purpose and content
]. Otherwise, the message conveyed could get misunderstood
or misinterpreted. For this purpose, it is suggested to consider a
specic goal at a time and to use exact, appropriate, and concrete
vocabulary. Further, the vocabulary and phrases used to present
content should be appropriate to the audience (i.e., avoid ambiguous
words, complex words, and jargon). Using familiar words in the
text helps the learners in dierent ways, for instance, it improves
reading speed, lessens cognitive load to understand the text, and
enhances the recall of information [
]. After all, no one complains
about the content being too simple to understand while a poster
relying on a specic term, e.g. phishing, might not have the desired
eect if the reader does not know what phishing means [39].
3.5.2 Conciseness. The content should be brief, to the point, and
comprehensible for the audience [
]. This can be performed by
including only what the audience needs to know but not what
would be nice to know. Its signicance in a poster design, where
space for content is limited, is extremely high. After all, there is
always a possibility to include detailed information in the provided
weblink for the interested audience.
3.5.3 Well-structured. The content structure inuences the learner’s
ability to comprehend and recall the information conveyed [
]. So, it should be well organized and structured. Theoretically,
there are dierent ways to organize or sequence content elements,
for instance, the problem followed by its solution, simple to complex
concept, familiar to unfamiliar concept, and most to least important
information [
]. However, which option would be appropriate
to learn cybersecurity concepts may require further investigation.
Based on the observation of several CSA contents, a potentially
viable structure for the overall content could be in the sequence
similar to Entman’s [
] message-framing process, i.e., what is the
problem,how to identify it/ its characteristics, and what solution
ts. And when listing the problem characteristics and protection
measures, they can be arranged in the sequence of from the most
important to the least important.
3.5.4 Uses multi representation. The content should use various
representations to complement each other, for example, a graph or
image to complement the text, and reinforce the main message by
highlighting them. This richer representation using dierent cues
improves the understandability and memorability of the message
] [
] and, at the same time, accessibility for dierent types of
audiences, for example, dierently abled audiences. Additionally, a
memorable message has proven to lead to behavior change.
3.5.5 Understandability of the main message. The audience should
be able to understand the main message in a very short span of
time in order to attract their attention. In general, average human
attention dwindled to only 8 seconds in 2013 [
]. So, any message
(or goal) taking a relatively long time to understand has to face the
dwindling attention and interest of the audience. This may lead
to a situation where the audience gets completely uninterested in
learning about it. To improve the main message’s understandability,
sub-properties listed for the topic and content presentation could
3.5.6 Localized. Localization is about attempting to remove the
cultural barriers that may exist, which is important for CSA [
The content should be adapted to the audience type, for specic
countries, regions, cultures, or groups. Along with language trans-
lation, use, for example, suitable terminologies, images, cases, and
examples that the audience can relate to. Localization improves user
experience, and that will lead to a better understanding. Eliminate
things that the audience could not relate to or require mapping
to relate and understand as far as possible. Localization should
consider, for example,
Performing accurate translation of all information into the
target language.
Adapting graphics to the preferences of the target audience.
Adapting layout and design so text can properly be displayed.
Converting elements such as units of measurement and cur-
rency to local requisites.
Using correct formats of phone number, address, and dates.
3.6 Style and Formatting
3.6.1 Visibility of overall message. The main message (or take-
home message) on a poster should be readable from a reasonable
distance. There does not exist any dened rule on how far the
message should be visible primarily because visibility is inuenced
by the dimension of a poster as well as where it is placed.
3.6.2 Placement of the main message. The main message of a poster
should be placed so that it does not get lost, among other details.
Based on design conventions, placing the priority content at the
front and center [47] of a poster improves its visual prominence.
3.6.3 Color used. Appropriate color and color contrast should be
used for a poster design. Answering what color will be suitable for
a poster is dependent on a variety of factors, for example, color
symbolism (e.g., blue color often symbolizes serenity, stability, in-
spiration, or wisdom in various cultures), color conventions for
scientic purposes (e.g., red color is used to symbolizes stop, bad,
danger, warning, enemy, and unsafe), ocial colors of an orga-
nization (e.g., white and blue are the ocial colors of the United
Nations), and consideration for health issues (e.g., individuals may
face diculty distinguishing certain colors due to color vision de-
ciency). Further, creating a complementary contrast in the color
of content and background improves their visibility [
], i.e., the
text is easily visible and readable from a distance. This complemen-
tary contrast can be determined by using the color wheel. The color
theory can greatly help with these issues.
3.6.4 Typography used. A poster’s text should be easily readable.
Making the audience spend extra time to read text is highly dis-
couraging. When selecting an appropriate typeface, it is suggested
to ensure the legibility and readability of the text [
]. For example,
Properties for Cybersecurity Awareness Posters’ Design and ality Assessment ARES 2022, August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria
A poster should select a typeface that works well in multiple
sizes and weights to maintain readability in dierent-sized
A poster should avoid fancy or artistic fonts that could reduce
its readability.
A poster should use decisively contrasting typefaces to en-
hance its readability if multiple typefaces have to be used.
A poster should use mixed or lower case rather than upper
case characters [55].
A poster should use boldface and italic, only if necessary.
Underline should be reserved for identifying links.
A poster should avoid reverse type (for example, white text
on a dark background).
A poster should appropriately space the elements among
3.6.5 Image used. Including an appropriate image that comple-
ments the text on a poster is worth many words. It improves the
information richness [
] and memorability [
] of the contents.
Furthermore, the memorability of an image depends on various
factors, for example, images with people in them are the most mem-
orable [
]. Similarly, positioning an image in the middle of a poster
will make it visible from a distance and help attract the audience’s
3.6.6 Logo used. The logo of the organization that has designed
and distributed the poster should be included on its top or bot-
tom, from where the logo is noticeable to the audience. This visual
imagery will serve to inform the audience who is the source or
messenger of the information. People tend to determine the seri-
ousness of a message based on its source or messenger [
]. Posters
distributed by an organization with a reputation for cybersecurity
or is authorized for the purpose will have a strong inuence on the
audience and motivate them to take it seriously [15].
We used an online assessment to determine the degree to which CSA
posters designed and distributed by various organizations conform
to the elicited properties. In order to carry out the assessment, a
Google Form was created. Each poster was displayed with the set
of properties and the participants had to assess to what extent the
poster satises the given properties in terms of a ve-point Likert
scale (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree).
The evaluation was performed by the ve members from partner
organizations contributing/participating in the project. The analysis
used 117 posters from organizations like ENISA [
], Cyber Safe Work [
], Global Knowledge [
], SANS Institute
], and INFOSEC Institute [
] that are available for free. The
posters covered security issues and concerns like phishing and
social engineering protection, security hygiene, unattended device
protection, online child safety, data protection, email protection,
malware protection, password protection, and privacy protection.
All the posters evaluated in this study were in English. While we
collected also posters in other languages, we did not include them
in the study for the sake of comparability. In total, we received
valid submissions for 95 posters. Due to some unknown issues in
Google Form, submissions for some posters did not register in its
The intention behind this analysis is never to show whose posters
are superior or inferior in quality; rather realize the disparity, if
any exists, between the academic recommendations and real-life
practice in poster design. At the same time, this analysis provides
a tentative idea on the relevancy of each property based on how
many posters and to what extent they conform to the property.
Among the elicited properties, although all of them are important,
a few of them have been excluded from the analysis due to practical
diculties to assess them. These excluded properties are as follows:
Since it was not clear for all posters who the intended audi-
ence was, it was dicult to analyze its topic’s relevancy.
All the posters contained the organization’s logos, so this
obviously has not been analyzed in the assessment.
Even though localization is essential to improve the eec-
tiveness of CSA posters (and in general), this study did not
evaluate it mainly because of these reasons: i) posters avail-
able in multiple languages had no other changes except a
translation of the awareness text (it was not a complete lo-
calization), ii) a very few posters were available in multiple
languages, and iii) presumably because reviewers are from
dierent locations, that would also make reviews inconsis-
tent as we could be reviewing dierent translations and other
Since the color contrast of background and text is analyzed
during the typography analysis, color used has not been
analyzed. Moreover, going through the color theory to deter-
mine appropriate colors was not easy for the participants.
Figure 2 presents the number of posters that conform to each
property. Posters for which at least three participants (out of ve)
have said agreed or strongly agreed they conform to the given prop-
erty have been considered to be conforming whereas the remaining
are not conforming.
4.1 Discussion of Findings
Overall, all the elicited properties have signicance in the CSA
poster design and its quality assessment. This is evident from the
outcome of the analysis shown in Figure 2, wherein in a worst-case
scenario, only a little more than 50% of the posters conform to each
Interestingly, we found some disparity between academic rec-
ommendations and real-life practice in poster design. Almost 50%
of the posters did not meet one or multiple of the criteria men-
tioned. The top ve properties that are mostly not conformed are
Well-structured,Use of image,Positive,Complete, and Clarity in
descending order.
Particularly, posters with one-liner messages have an issue of
Complete,Well-structured, and Clarity. Obviously, when there is no
text there is no Well-structured. Similarly, posters with excessively
lengthy text and those discussing multiple issues at the same time
have an issue of Clarity. These imply that the posters should have
only enough information that needs to be known by the audience,
if possible, to act safely and securely. Indeed, putting just a catchy
slogan on the poster will help in attracting attention and is easy
to remember, however, something without a clear call for action is
ARES 2022, August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria Sunil Chaudhary, Marko Kompara, Sebastian Pape, and Vasileios Gkioulos
Figure 2: Number of Posters Conforming and Not Conform-
ing to the Individual Properties
questionable since behavior change also requires telling the audi-
ence what they need to do [
]. Similarly, posters with excessively
lengthy text will be demotivating for the audience to read, under-
stand, and practice in everyday life. Instead, these lengthy posters
can use an option like providing a link from where to get detailed
information for the interested audience. Obviously, determining
how much and what information to include in a poster is a chal-
lenging endeavor and could depend on the audience type. A simple
rule could be to concentrate on must-haves.
Next, many posters had either plain backgrounds or abstract/
unrelatable images on them. The use of images on a poster is to con-
tribute meaningfully to the message conveyed. However, in many
posters, the images used do not seem to achieve that. This could be
possibly due to the limited understanding of the cybersecurity issue
by the responsible graphic designer. Therefore, it is suggested to the
graphic designer to have a basic understanding of the cybersecurity
issue before s/he works on it. S/he must realize the image is not
simply to make the poster attractive but at the same time convey
or support the message included in the textual form.
Likewise, many posters emphasized what not to do. Knowing
them is denitely useful, but this may not be eective for a long-
term behavior change, essentially when such suggestions can ob-
struct the audience’s primary concern. For example, the recom-
mendation "do not use a weak password" is true but this does not
provide the right alternative. Rather this can be recommended as
"use a password with a combination of alphanumeric and special
characters" or "use a 2-factor authentication method" that conveys
the same intent.
Last but not least, the meaning of properties like Understand-
ability of the main message,Doable,Convenience, and Clarity, dier
for each individual. They are dependent on the audience’s ability
(such as security expertise and experience). For example, the same
recommendation could be doable for an individual with security
knowledge and experience, whereas undoable for a naïve person.
Similarly, an image that could make sense to one individual would
make no sense to another. So, while dening them for usable mean-
ing, one should consider the target audience’s ability to understand
and eectively apply them.
The ultimate goal of CSA is to change people’s security knowl-
edge, attitude, and behavior by putting what they have learned into
practice. In order to raise people’s CSA, security messages are com-
municated to them using diverse channels. Among them, a poster is
one of the simplest and most commonly used channels. Moreover,
most people are familiar with the usage of posters in many elds
besides CSA. Despite these all, very little eort has been made to
produce a more uniform and eective poster for CSA purposes. Fur-
ther, there does not exist any study that targets systematizing the
approaches used for CSA poster design and its quality assessment.
Therefore, this study aims to address these issues of non-uniformity
in CSA poster design, and also systematize the approach used for
its design and quality assessment.
In order to do so, this study used a nonsystematic LR followed
by an online assessment. The LR has been utilized to elicit the list
of properties that can guide the design of CSA posters as well as
act as criteria to be considered when performing a poster’s quality
assessment. An online assessment has been used to analyze 95 CSA
posters from various organizations mainly to assess how much
they conform to the elicited properties. The assessment was done
in terms of a ve-point Likert scale. The aim of this assessment
was never to investigate the posters’ superiority or inferiority, but
to verify how much the elicited properties are in practice. There
were two main benets of this assessment. Firstly, it provided the
practical relevancy of the properties, and secondly, it helped to
examine the disparity in academia and in practice, if there is any.
The LR resulted in six properties and their respective twenty-
one sub-properties. These properties and sub-properties are as
follows: Topic (Specic, Relevant), Information Quality (Credible
and consistent, Complete, Up to date), Message Framing (Direct,
Positive), Suggestions Quality (Doable, Convenience), Content Pre-
sentation (Clarity, Conciseness, Well-Structured, Uses multi repre-
sentation, Understandability of the main message, Localized), and
Style and Formatting (Visibility of overall message, Placement of
the main message, Color used, Typography used, Image used, Logo
used). Interestingly, apart from the last property, the remaining are
equally important to all other communication channels. However,
one would expect that dierent properties vary across the dierent
communication channels, e.g. while a poster needs to focus on one
topic with a certain level of detail, an awareness video could cover
the same topic in more detail, or dierent topics within the same
video. Mostly, because the receiver of the awareness message will
most likely spend more time on the video, even if the poster is very
Similarly, the assessment established the relevancy of all the
listed properties. Even in a worst-case scenario, more than 50%
of the posters conform to each property. Further, the assessment
revealed a level of disparity between theoretical recommendations
for a poster design and what is in practice. Some properties like
Well-structured,Use of image,Positive,Complete, and Clarity were
Properties for Cybersecurity Awareness Posters’ Design and ality Assessment ARES 2022, August 23–26, 2022, Vienna, Austria
least conformed by the posters. This disparity could have occurred
due to the existing culture in poster design that is largely inuenced
by elds like marketing (advertisement), where the focus is more
on visual appeal. Therefore, there is a need to have a clear distinc-
tion between the poster design for CSA purposes and others. This
requires a proper guide for CSA poster design and its quality assess-
ment. Moreover, the designer (dierent from the CSA professional)
also needs to have an adequate understanding of the security issues
along with experience in designing to produce an eective CSA
The main limitation of this study is the few numbers of partici-
pants in the assessment, which is statistically insignicant. How-
ever, this happened due to the nature of the assessment, where the
participants were required to have a level of consensus on the mean-
ing of each property. The assessment also did not analyze a few
properties due to technical diculties or diculties of objectivity.
This work has nancially been supported by the CyberSec4Europe
project (Proposal No. 830929). This paper is an extended and re-
vised version of a section of the deliverable report D3.19 [
] from
CyberSec4Europe’s WP3: Blueprint Design and Common Research
The authors would like to thank Outi-Marja Latvala (VTT, Fin-
land) and Eda Marchetti (CNR, Italy) for reviewing and provid-
ing feedback on the deliverable report submitted to the Cyber-
Sec4Europe which was the foundation for this paper.
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... Interestingly, three recent studies have attempted to address the problems encountered in these studies and facilitate the evaluation of CSA programs. First, Chaudhary et al. [146] have listed a set of properties that could contribute to improving the effectiveness of awareness materials. Second, Chaudhary and Gkioulos [116] have proposed a framework for designing an effective CSA program. ...
... In addition, they should meet the mission of the organization [166]. Chaudhary et al. [146] have presented a more comprehensive list of properties that should be considered for CSA content design. ...
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The proliferation of information and communication technologies in enterprises enables them to develop new business models and enhance their operational and commercial activities. Nevertheless, this practice also introduces new cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities. This may not be an issue for large organizations with the resources and mature cybersecurity programs in place; the situation with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is different since they often lack the resources, expertise, and incentives to prioritize cybersecurity. In such cases, cybersecurity awareness can be a critical component of cyberdefense. However, research studies dealing with cybersecurity awareness or related domains exclusively for SMEs are rare, indicating a pressing need for research addressing the cybersecurity awareness requirements of SMEs. Prior to that, though, it is crucial to identify which aspects of cybersecurity awareness require further research in order to adapt or conform to the needs of SMEs. In this study, we conducted a systematic literature review that focused on cybersecurity awareness, prioritizing those performed with a particular focus on SMEs. The study seeks to analyze and evaluate such studies primarily to determine knowledge and research gaps in the cybersecurity awareness field for SMEs, thus providing a direction for future research.
... This could be due to the fact that the persuasive effect of communication is heavily influenced by its message framing [12]. Here, we do not want to go into detail on message framing because it has already been extensively explored in our prior reports [1] [13] and a publication [14]. ...
... Finally, many viable approaches to achieving these aspects have been discussed in our previous deliverable report D3.19 [13] and conference paper [14]. ...
Technical Report
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This report follows from D9.18―Awareness Effectiveness Study 2, in which we conducted a literature review to elicit a comprehensive list of factors relevant to enhancing the effectiveness of cybersecurity awareness, specifically motivating people to adopt and improve cybersecurity behaviour. In this report, we have condensed and validated the outcomes of report D9.18. The compiled list of factors that could be used to motivate people to adopt and change cybersecurity is more complete and practically implementable. In order to achieve this, we used the Delphi approach with 22 experts and two rounds of online surveys. The study identified seven factors that could be used to motivate cybersecurity behaviour adoption and modification.
... A good poster should be precise, clear, systematic, interesting and readable in accordance with the local culture. [36] The sharia childbirth manual is an educational tool intended for the staff and helpers of the labor wards to improve the knowledge of those health professionals on childbirth services in accordance with Islamic sharia. It accords with sharia hospital standards, namely that of providing education on the fiqh of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding to patients and their families, as indicated in the educational tool documents. ...
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BACKGROUND The implementation of Sharia Model Childbirth (SMC) is in accordance with Fatwa Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) no l07/DSN-MUI/X/2016 on the practice of sharia principles in health services. Sharia services in hospitals are general. This SMC innovation is specific and comprehensive, covering prenatal, delivery and postnatal. This model was implemented in 2017 but has never been qualitatively evaluated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the application of SMC in the maternity services from the perspective of midwives and staff of the Islamic service unit. MATERIALS AND METHODS Applied qualitative research was conducted from 5 December 2021 to 31 January 2022. In-person in-depth interviews were conducted using semi-structured interview guidelines. Informants were taken from the midwives of the maternity room and the Islamic service installation until a fair saturation of data was achieved. Observational and documentation were conducted for the validity of the data. The data were analyzed thematically and presented in themes and sub-themes. RESULTS The results of the study were on the work procedures implemented, and the obstacles and shortcomings found. Most of the procedures and accompanying regulations had been implemented. Participants revealed obstacles and shortcomings in this innovative program. The major obstacle found was that the patient’s right to choose a female medical officer was not fulfilled because of the type of teaching hospital it was and the lack of female medical staff. The shortcomings were in the reading of prayers and remembrances, the understanding of the contents of the manual, and the design of the delivery room, which did not maintain privacy. CONCLUSION Overall, SMC is being implemented, but there are obstacles and shortcomings in the implementation. Solutions and regulations in sharia services should urgently be found and enforced. The deficiencies in this innovative program must be corrected immediately.
... A message can be framed and communicated in several ways without changing its facts but differing in its impacts on people. Framing has a considerable impact on, for example, how an individual processes information, makes decisions [21,22], and is persuaded [23]. Psychological factors, such as loss aversion, the bandwagon effect, and confirmation biases, can be leveraged during message framing to improve the persuasiveness of the CSA message [1]. ...
This chapter discusses present and prospective aspects of cybersecurity awareness (CSA) initiatives. Concerning the first, it presents practices suggested by numerous past research studies that involve both CSA and other relevant fields of study in order to build a more effective CSA program. The second segment recommends leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to design and deliver a more customized and personalized experience to CSA program audiences. This utilization of AI and ML will presumably contribute to making CSA programs more effective and efficient.
Technical Report
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This report presents sources of cybersecurity awareness resources and materials that can be useful for SMEs. The sources of these materials can be broadly categorised into (1) European agencies and organisations (2) EU-funded and national projects, (3) National organisations of EEA countries and the UK, (4) European trade associations and federations and (5) International US-based companies offering information security and cybersecurity training and awareness resources. Most of the listed sources are from European agencies and organisations, which have prepared awareness materials to meet the needs of European industries and enterprises. The awareness materials from the first three source categories are generally available for free or after registration. The fourth source category provides awareness resources and materials to members only and the fifth source category charges for awareness resources and materials with few exceptions that are available for free.
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Psychological reactance theory is a commonly relied upon framework for understanding audience members' resistance to persuasive health messages. This review article provides an overview of reactance research in the context of persuasive health communication. The article begins with an overview of psychological reactance theory. The major concepts of the theory are discussed, as well as recent developments by communication researchers in measuring reactance. Following this, contemporary reactance research in the context of persuasive health communication is summarized. An emphasis is placed on research examining message features associated with reactance, as well as the moderating role of trait reactance. The article concludes with a discussion of several promising directions for future research.
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Purpose The purpose of this study is to focus on organisation’s cybersecurity strategy and propose a high-level programme for cybersecurity education and awareness to be used when targeting small- and medium-sized enterprises/businesses (SMEs/SMBs) at a city-level. An essential component of an organisation’s cybersecurity strategy is building awareness and education of online threats and how to protect corporate data and services. This programme is based on existing research and provides a unique insight into an ongoing city-based project with similar aims. Design/methodology/approach To structure this work, a scoping review was conducted of the literature in cybersecurity education and awareness, particularly for SMEs/SMBs. This theoretical analysis was complemented using a case study and reflecting on an ongoing, innovative programme that seeks to work with these businesses to significantly enhance their security posture. From these analyses, best practices and important lessons/recommendations to produce a high-level programme for cybersecurity education and awareness were recommended. Findings While the literature can be informative at guiding education and awareness programmes, it may not always reach real-world programmes. However, existing programmes, such as the one explored in this study, have great potential, but there can be room for improvement. Knowledge from each of these areas can, and should, be combined to the benefit of the academic and practitioner communities. Originality/value The study contributes to current research through the outline of a high-level programme for cybersecurity education and awareness targeting SMEs/SMBs. Through this research, literature in this space was examined and insights into the advances and challenges faced by an on-going programme were presented. These analyses allow us to craft a proposal for a core programme that can assist in improving the security education, awareness and training that targets SMEs/SMBs.
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This article draws out the implications for school and classroom practices of an emerging consensus about the science of learning and development, outlined in a recent synthesis of the research. Situating the review in a developmental systems framework, we synthesize evidence from the learning sciences and several branches of educational research regarding well-vetted strategies that support the kinds of relationships and learning opportunities needed to promote children’s well-being, healthy development, and transferable learning. In addition, we review research regarding practices that can help educators respond to individual variability, address adversity, and support resilience, such that schools can enable all children to find positive pathways to adulthood.
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Background The increased use of health information systems and information technology (IT) in healthcare heightens the risk of security and privacy breaches. Necessary measures such as effective IT training and education are required to meet the challenges of protecting patient information. Purpose The objective of the study was to determine the effectiveness of existing educational and awareness modules in delivering the key messages around IT security and privacy. Methods The study was conducted in a large healthcare organization in Western Canada from September 2016 to March 2017. Using proportionate stratified random sampling, an online survey was distributed to all professional groups including clinical and non-clinical staff. In total, 586 participants responded to questions pertaining to whether or not they were aware of the IT education material, common potential breaches, and knowledge in preventing IT security and privacy breaches. Data were analyzed in SPSS version 19. Results The study found that most of the participants (80.9%) completed the online IT training. Staff perceived the online training as effective (57.5%). There was a significant positive correlation between staff perception about the effectiveness of IT security educational material and satisfaction with IT security in the organization (r=0.34, P<0.01). Those who completed the training were 4.2-times (CI=2.0–8.8) more likely to correctly report the action upon receiving spam emails than those who had not completed the training. The most common type of breach stated was not knowing how to encrypt emails when sending emails outside the organization. Only a small proportion of clinical (25.5%) and non-clinical staff (30.4%) reported knowing how to encrypt emails. Also, participants identified various strategies for improving the module content and compliance. Conclusion Online training provides a basic understanding of IT security and privacy concepts to prevent potential breaches. The training should be an integral part of healthcare staff continuing education to protect patient information.
Full-text available
We conducted an online experiment (n = 2024) on a representative sample of internet users in Germany, Sweden, Poland, Spain and the UK to explore the effect of notifications on security behaviour. Inspired by protection motivation theory (PMT), a coping message advised participants on how to minimize their exposure to risk and a threat appeal highlighted the potential negative consequences of not doing so. Both increased secure behavior – but the coping message significantly more so. The coping message was also as effective as both messages combined, but not so the threat appeal. Risk attitudes, age and country had a significant effect on behavior. Initiatives seeking to promote secure behavior should focus more on coping messages, either alone or in combination with fear appeals.
Systematic reviews and purposive (nonsystematic) reviews serve valuable and complementary roles in synthesizing the results of original research studies. Systematic reviews use rigorous methods of article selection and data extraction to shed focused, deep light on a relatively narrow body of research, yet of necessity may exclude potentially insightful works that fall outside the predefined scope. Purposive reviews offer flexibility to address more far-reaching questions and pursue novel insights, yet offer little assurance of a balanced perspective on the issue. This chapter reviews the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, and suggests specific questions to help researchers select among these approaches. Different approaches to quantitative and narrative research synthesis, including meta-analysis, are also described.
Studies examining message framing effects on persuasion have produced mixed results. Some studies show positively framed messages, which specify attributes or benefits gained by using a product, to be more persuasive than negatively framed messages, which specify attributes or benefits lost by not using a product. Reverse outcomes have been obtained in other studies. The authors explore a theoretical explanation for such findings by investigating whether differences in the degree to which people engage in detailed message processing account for the mixed results. The findings support the view that positively framed messages may be more persuasive when there is little emphasis on detailed processing, but negatively framed messages may be more persuasive when detailed processing is emphasized.
It is now readily recognised that cyber-security is not just a technical issue, with many breaches highlighting insufficient attention towards human aspects. One of the fundamental reasons for this is that people are not naturally equipped with the skills, instincts and behaviours required to ensure appropriate protection and so need support in order to help them understand what they should be doing and learn how to do it. However, looking at the evidence from surveys over the years, it becomes clear that security awareness, training and education often hold the curious distinction of being overlooked as key controls, while the lack of provision is readily recognised as a key cause of incidents. As such, this remains an area in which more could be done – and how it is done could be improved. Cyber-security is not just a technical issue. Breach after breach has shown the impact of human factors. People are not naturally equipped with the skills, instincts and behaviours required to ensure appropriate protection and so need support. However, while the lack of provision is recognised as a cause of incidents, security awareness and training are often overlooked. Steven Furnell and Ismini Vasileiou of the Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research at the University of Plymouth examine how this situation can be improved.
Conference Paper
Users do often not behave securely when using information technology. Many studies have tried to identify the factors of behavioural theories which can increase secure behaviour. The goal of this work is to identify which of the factors are reliably associated with secure behaviour across multiple studies. Those factors are of interest to information security professionals since addressing them in security awareness and education campaigns can help improving security related processes of users. To attain our goal, we conducted a systematic literature review and assessed the reliability of the factors based on the effect sizes reported in the literature. Our results indicate that 11 out of the 14 factors from well established behavioural theories can be associated with reliable effects in the information security context. These factors cover very different aspects: influence of the users skills, whether the environment makes it possible to exhibit secure behaviour, the influence of friends or co-workers, and the perceived properties of the secure behaviour (e.g. response cost). Also, we identify areas, where more studies are needed to increase the confidence of the factors' reliability assessment.