Mariani, M. G., & Zappalà, S.
PC virus attacks in small firms: Effects of risk perceptions and information technology competence on preventive behaviors
While Information Technology (IT) is undeniably useful in improving organizational efficiency, it is also vulnerable: a virus attack can interrupt the work of many employees. Human behaviors, practices and errors are possible causes of a computer virus attack and the consequent infections. Even if preventive behavior is studied in health psychology and other fields, the prevention of personal computer (PC) virus attacks is a fairly new area of research. In this study it is hypothesized that both risk perception of actions that might cause a virus attack and IT self-rated competencies influence the implementation of behaviors aiming to prevent virus attacks. It is also hypothesized that risk perception is related to IT competencies. Employees (N = 134) working in four organizations participated in the study by completing a questionnaire. Structural equation modeling was used to test the model. Results show that risk perception does not have a significant effect on preventive behaviors; in contrast, IT competencies influence the actual preventive behaviors and are related to the perception of risk of virus attacks.Back