University of Oulu

Secure coding intention via protection motivation theory based survey

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Author: Sallinen, Tommi1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Pages: 51
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Sallinen, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-05-19
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Vesanen, Ari
Reviewer: Vesanen, Ari
Iisakka, Juha


According to studies, programming skills are obtained by a large number of persons but most of them lack the ability to produce secure software. This statement reflects the essence of this thesis and provides a direction to problem solving.

The focus of this study is a research into the possibility of using a questionnaire prepared with the use of a protection motivation theory (PMT) to provide a indication of intention for software developers towards secure programming techniques. This study answers the following research question: Can secure programming intention be aroused with a PMT questionnaire?

The questionnaire consists of three categories: background-, awareness-/knowledge- and PMT questions. Background questions are used to identify the focus group. Awareness and knowledge questions are used to provide secure coding information which is reflected by cognitive thinking via PMT questions. The questionnaire was built as web survey and distributed via professional social network.

The questionnaire uses focused subject group working in micro and small enterprises (<50 employees). The study results are analysed against PMT components to validate focus group selection as a correct choice. Survey findings analysed in qualitative manner (partly in quantitative), indicates that majority of subjects created intention towards studying or using secure coding techniques. The focus group PMT analysis results shows that in each PMT section, at least over half indicated positive response into it.

These results will provide a deeper research direction for how to promote secure coding.

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Copyright information: © Tommi Sallinen, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.