Date of Award

Spring 3-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Operations (PhDCO)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Kyle Cronin

Second Advisor

Crystal Pauli

Third Advisor

Tom Halverson


Today’s world is increasingly reliant on technology for school, work, entertainment, and general home use. Many jobs today could not be performed without the use of computer systems or other technology. As lives become intertwined with technology, everyone will inevitably encounter malicious, vulnerable, or privacy-compromising devices or services. Unfortunately, knowledge of how to deal with these cybersecurity and privacy issues is not something that falls within the domain of common knowledge for the everyday person. Additionally, there is a lack of work being done to understand the educational needs of various groups within the general public and educate them. This quantitative survey research study seeks to add to this knowledge base by looking to better understand what university students at the Southeastern Louisiana University comprehend regarding cybersecurity and privacy protection best practices and associated standard technologies. Furthermore, this work will examine whether the student’s academic major has any effect on their responses. This research examines the responses from university students to a survey using nontechnical questions in cybersecurity, privacy protection, and some standard, related technologies. The combination of answers to these questions and the major given by the student provides conclusions of what is common knowledge for the university population and if their major had any effect on their ability to answer the questions correctly. Based on 810 responses to the survey, it can be concluded that there are participants who are unsure or incorrect in their knowledge of a given idea for any of the examined subjects. Additionally, majoring in computer science or information technology results in students having an increased likelihood to answer correctly. Students in these majors do show a lower rate of providing an incorrect answer, but it does not eliminate the deficiencies. The research shows that education for all students in cybersecurity, privacy protection, and related technologies is needed. Finally, while some solutions are presented, additional research is required to educate them further.