Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Comparing Personality Traits between Penetration Tester, Information Security, and IT Professionals from Two Cohorts
by Opedal, Olav, Ph.D., Capella University, 2019, 134; 27544575
Abstract (Summary)

Malicious hacking can affect the social, economic, and political health of societies. Little research existed about the personality traits of those who hack without criminal intent, penetration testers. The goal of this quantitative study was to identify if there were differences in personality traits between millennials and Generation X, and between penetration testers, information security professionals, and IT professionals. Comparing penetration testers to information security professionals helped determine if there are differences in personality traits between attackers and protectors. To answer the questions, it was important to measure if there were differences in the Big Six personality domains for personality, extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness, and honesty/humility. Earlier research identified links between traits and career choices of computer professionals. The quantitative study used two survey tools: the Mini-IPIP6 and a demographic survey to collect age and professional affiliation data. Data analyses included a two-way MANOVA and a post hoc analysis using Sidak correction. The MANOVA was significant for both profession and cohort. Millennials scored higher in extroversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism, and lower in agreeableness compared to Generation X. Cohort differences were expected and confirmed the theory that there is a maturation effect in traits as individuals age. The post hoc analysis identified that penetration testers were introverted, that information security professionals had the highest neuroticism scores, that IT professionals had the lowest honesty/humility scores. The study did not confirm the expectation that information security professionals would score lower on openness and higher on agreeableness compared to their peers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fernandez, Loraine
Commitee: Ottomanelli, Gennaro, Fremont, Paula
School: Capella University
Department: Harold Abel School of Psychology
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 81/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Personality psychology, Information Technology, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Big Six, Generation X, Information security professional, IT professional, Millennial, Penetration tester
Publication Number: 27544575
ISBN: 9781392433898
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