Using Websites Effectively for Sharing Cyber Security Advice
Last registered on March 02, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Using Websites Effectively for Sharing Cyber Security Advice
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005519
Initial registration date
March 02, 2020
Last updated
March 02, 2020 3:36 PM EST
Location(s)

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Request Information
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-03-26
End date
2020-04-03
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In partnership with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) is conducting research to improve cyber security advice for individuals in their personal lives.
Individuals can protect themselves and reduce their risk of becoming victims of cyber attacks by implementing certain behaviours. In particular, using strong and different passwords across important accounts, and regularly updating their devices’ software.
The study involves a survey with embedded framed field experiment. The survey aims to gain deeper insight into cyber security attitudes, awareness, and current practices. The embedded survey experiment aims to examine which ways of presenting information might result in the most significant change to intentions and behaviours.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Team Registration, BETA. 2020. "Using Websites Effectively for Sharing Cyber Security Advice." AEA RCT Registry. March 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5519-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
During a framed field experiment, participants will be exposed to cyber security advice relating to improving cyber-security behaviours surrounding strong passwords and timely updating of software and apps.
We will test different ways of framing this information by varying the messenger delivering the information and the framing of potential consequences of poor behaviour.
Intervention Start Date
2020-03-03
Intervention End Date
2020-04-03
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Participants’ self-reported intentions to create strong and different passwords across their important accounts
- Participants’ self-reported intentions to update software on their devices immediately after being prompted.
- Participants cyber-security knowledge (password and update behaviours) at the time of exposure to our intervention
- Participants’ cyber-security knowledge (password and update behaviours) at the time of our follow-up survey (2 weeks later)
- Participants’ self-reported behaviours around password and update behaviours at the time of the follow-up survey (2 weeks later)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This experiment has a factorial design. Participants will see advice on two cyber security behaviours (two separate experiments). Advice will be varied as a factorial design along two axes, relating to the advice messenger and the framing of consequences.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Participants will be initially randomised at an individual level for allocation to the password security experiment (A1 through A6). All participants will then be re-randomised at an individual level for allocation to the software update experiment (B1 through B6). In both cases, the allocation ratio will give an equal number in all six cells.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
4500
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
A1 = 750
A2 = 750
A3 = 750
A4 = 750
A5 = 750
A6 = 750

B1 = 750
B2 = 750
B3 = 750
B4 = 750
B5 = 750
B6 = 750
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See attached pre-analysis plan. At 80% power we are powered to detect an effect size of around: - Messenger arm 5.1% (p<0.05), 6.1% (p<0.0125) - Consequences arm 4.2% (p<0.05), 5.0% (p<0.0125)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
BETA
IRB Approval Date
2019-09-11
IRB Approval Number
BETA ETH 2019-05