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Systematically Understanding Cybersecurity Economics: A Survey

Mazaher Kianpour (), Stewart J. Kowalski () and Harald Øverby ()
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Mazaher Kianpour: Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway
Stewart J. Kowalski: Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway
Harald Øverby: Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2815 Gjøvik, Norway

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 24, 1-28

Abstract: Insights in the field of cybersecurity economics empower decision makers to make informed decisions that improve their evaluation and management of situations that may lead to catastrophic consequences and threaten the sustainability of digital ecosystems. By drawing on these insights, cybersecurity practitioners have been able to respond to many complex problems that have emerged within the context of cybersecurity over the last two decades. The academic field of cybersecurity economics is highly interdisciplinary since it combines core findings and tools from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, law, political science, and computer science. This study aims to develop an extensive and consistent survey based on a literature review and publicly available reports. This review contributes by aggregating the available knowledge from 28 studies, out of a collection of 628 scholarly articles, to answer five specific research questions. The focus is how identified topics have been conceptualized and studied variously. This review shows that most of the cybersecurity economics models are transitioning from unrealistic, unverifiable, or highly simplified fundamental premises toward dynamic, stochastic, and generalizable models.

Keywords: cybersecurity economics; economics of information security; complex systems; socio-technical systems; meta-narrative literature review; sustainable digital ecosystems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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