Article Review #1 CYSE201S

Cybersecurity during COVID-19

I will be detailing my understanding of the article Cybersecurity when working from home during COVID-19: considering the human factors” by Monica T Whitty, Nour Moustafa, and Marthie Grobler. The research conducted was from a social constructionist view with emphasis on Vygotsky’s theory of learning, as a basis.


Before the COVID-19 international lockdown in March 2020, working from home was far less prevalent. The unique and historic panic that COVID-19 brought was terrifying and mysterious. Many workers from around the world were forced to work from home, if technology made a way to do so. The article gave brief statistics of pre-pandemic work from home datasets“It has been found that ∼38% of organizations have a dedicated cybersecurity policy and that ∼75% of businesses have no explicit cybersecurity-framed rules that staff are expected to follow when working at home.”(Whitty et al., 2024) Many workers who made that shift were basically put online with varied levels of training and knowledge of best practices and security awareness. The article specifically detailed what type of attacks happened during this historic time, such as zoom bombing, DDoS attacks, and ransomware viruses. Tension was at a peak, and cybersecurity was truly put to the test for schools, and businesses. The article relates to the social sciences directly and it examines the research from a social constructionist point of view. This view states that people in society are molded by the processes and interactions that are happening around them. Vygotsky’s theory of learning is key to the insights of this article and that is based on his theory that learning is a social process, and development occurs through learning from others. The research question the article developed is complex, and wants to understand not only the habits the participants developed online during the shift, but also what were the feelings, emotions and mindset that contributed to how they were doing their cyber activities and how this information can benefit society in the future. The research takes on a more complex understanding, rather than just focusing on the cybersecurity standpoint.


This research in this article was conducted with 27 participants in Australia. The age ranges were 25 to 72 years old. There was about a 70/30 ratio with the greater portion being men, and different professional backgrounds were present. All participants worked in office in some capacity before COVID-19, and most had to adjust rapidly to a work at home environment after. The study was done with an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). This method is often used in psychology to understand how a subject views the constructs of their world and experiences and how that affects their lives. Participants were given interviews and were also given a fee for their participation. They were asked specific questions, the first questions were centered on what their experience was working from home and what exactly was considered effective cybersecurity practices for them. They were asked if they encountered any threats, or breaches online during this time and what happened if they did. They were also asked what was done to facilitate their knowledge and understanding by their organizations when working from home, did they receive training or advice? Finally they were asked if they could easily follow any direction given to them, and were asked to detail the experience if they did have guidance. How easy or hard to carry out, what was stressful, and how they felt about the working and adapting during the pandemic.


The results of the study were of course varied, however one underlying theme was stress. The participants were stressed. The fate of the world during lockdowns, people dying, how fast they had to adapt to change was overwhelming and of course stressful. Some were impacted directly by situations that compromised security. One example was teachers were seeing inappropriate content online. Some participants were confident with working from home and others were not. Some of the issues explored were a lack of training, equipment or internet problems, workspace problems and finding a work and life balance. The behavioral theories detailed in our powerpoint really do correlate to this study and research, especially in the cognitive learning spectrum. Behaviors are learned and affected by culture and society.


This study was done to get a complex and new view of cybersecurity practices during COVID-19. The research was done through a social constructionist view, based on Vygotsky’s theory of learning. Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive learning means learning from others, it involves culture, environment and experience. The thesis was how to correlate everything gathered into insights for future reference with this study as a model. These are the summed up answers or themes to the questions the researchers posed. First, Companies should try to understand the workers psychological state. Advisement needs to happen to better create work environments in the home that are conducive to secure and safe cyber security behaviors. The need to use simple and direct instructions to follow when working from home from an organization. Take technology limitations, including equipment, environment, and instruction of use in account for a seamless transition those areas might need upgrades or minimum requirements. Use peers to guide or educate others and retain or build knowledge. Keep workers motivated and educated by not using a single approach, but by being adaptive. Finally the results call for adaptive policy makers and trainers who put psychological and social factors in mind when addressing training and education, and not to place blame on workers.


Whitty, M. T., Moustafa, N., & Marthie Grobler. (2024). Cybersecurity when working from home during COVID-19: considering the human factors. Journal of Cybersecurity10(1).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *