Israeli researchers examine potential damaging psychological effects of cyber-terror attacks

A new study shows that individuals exposed to a simulated cyber-terror attack had significantly increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva compared to a control group. Following the cyber attack, study participants were more likely to fear an imminent cyber threat and to express feelings of personal insecurity, according to results published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website March 10, 2017.

A team of Israeli researchers designed a study to investigate the psychological effects of cyber terror. In the article entitled, "How Cyber-Attacks Terrorize: Cortisol and Personal Insecurity Jump in the Wake of Cyber Attacks," Daphna Canetti, Michael Gross, Israel Waismel-Manor, and Asaf Levanon, University of Haifa, and Hagit Cohen, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, examine the potential damaging effects of cyber terror, even though its victims suffer no direct bodily harm.

"Cyber attacks can increase both psychological and physiological stress in individuals. Teaching disaster preparedness for cyber events, as is done for real world events, may help mitigate some of this fear and anxiety," says Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.

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