Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Arnett, Kirk P.

Committee Member

Pearson, Allison W.

Committee Member

Shim, J.P.

Committee Member

Sullivan, Joe H.

Committee Member

Pearson, Rodney A.

Date of Degree

1-1-2006

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Abstract

This dissertation employed a two prong approach, whereby the survey and case study methods were used to investigate security issues regarding wireless networks. The survey portion draws together two previously unrelated research streams. Given the recent increased concern for security in the computing milieu, Innovation Diffusion Theory and security factor constructs were merged and synthesized to form a new instrument. This instrument is useful in an effort to understand what role security concerns play in the adoption and diffusion of technology. In development of the new instrument, 481 usable surveys were collected and analyzed. Factor analysis revealed favorable factor loadings in the data. Further analysis was then conducted utilizing multiple regression analysis. This analysis led to the discovery that the constructs of Susceptibility and Severity of Threat, Improvement Potential, and Visibility are significant predictors in regard to level of concern when using wireless networks. Case studies were conducted with a goal to gain a deep knowledge of IT professionals? concerns, attitudes, and best practices toward wireless security. To this end, seven IT professionals were personally interviewed regarding their perceptions and attitudes toward wireless security. In an effort to compare IT professional and end user opinions, 30 IT professionals also completed a paper based survey regarding their perceptions about security. Findings indicate that security professionals are very optimistic for the future of wireless computing. However, that optimism is tempered by a realization that there are a myriad of potential threats that might exploit weakness in wireless security. To determine differences and similarities between users? perspectives and managers? perspectives regarding wireless network security, the results from the survey and case study were synthesized. Most IT professionals (76.19%) reported that, all factors considered, they prefer to use wired networks as opposed to wireless networks; whereas, substantially fewer (44.86%) of the end user respondents reported that they preferred wired over wireless networks. Overall, results suggest that IT professionals are more concerned about security than are end users. However, a challenge remains to make administrators and users aware of the full effect of security threats present in the wireless computing paradigm.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/18338

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