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Your Personality Linked to CyberCrime

December 28, 2018

Do you constantly check your email for sales from online retailers? Can’t resist a good sale on Amazon? These are a couple of signs that you lack self-control -- and at a higher risk of falling prey to cybercrime, according to a study conducted at Michigan State University.

Impulsive online shopping, downloading music and compulsive email use are common behaviors associated with low self-control, say researchers, and identifying whether or not a person has the personality trait could help prevent them from identity theft or having their computer held for ransom.

“People who show signs of low self-control are the ones we found more susceptible to malware attacks,” says lead author and MSU Professor of Criminal Justice Tomas Holt, in a release. “An individual’s characteristics are critical in studying how cybercrime perseveres, particularly the person’s impulsiveness and the activities that they engage in while online that have the greatest impact on their risk.”

“Self-control is an idea that’s been looked at heavily in criminology in terms of its connection to committing crimes,” says Holt. “But we find a correlation between low self-control and victimization; people with this trait put themselves in situations where they are near others who are motivated to break the law.”

“If we can identify risk factors, we can work in tandem with technical fields to develop strategies that then reduce the risk factors for infection,” he continues. “It’s a pernicious issue we’re facing, so if we can attack from both fronts, we can pinpoint the risk factors and technical strategies to find solutions that improve protection for everyone.”

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