We're Here to Help: Company Image Repair and User Perception of Data BreachesDownload PDF

Published: 13 Jan 2020, Last Modified: 05 May 2023GI 2020Readers: Everyone
Keywords: Privacy, Security, Storytelling
TL;DR: "In this paper, we tested communication strategies' influence on users mental models of a data breach."
Abstract: Data breaches involve information being accessed by unauthorized parties. Our research concerns user perception of data breaches, especially issues relating to accountability. A preliminary study indicated many people had weak understanding of the issues, and felt they themselves were somehow responsible. We speculated that this impression might stem from organizational communication strategies. We therefore compared texts from organizations with those from external sources, such as the news media. This suggested that organizations use well-known crisis communication methods to reduce their reputational damage, and that these strategies align with repositioning of the narrative elements involved in the story. We then conducted a quantitative study, asking participants to rate either organizational texts or news texts about breaches. The findings of this study were in line with our document analysis, and suggest that organizational communication affects the users' perception of victimization, attitudes in data protection, and accountability. Our study suggests some software design and legal implications to support users protecting themselves and developing better mental models of security breaches.
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