Vol 3 No 1 (2020): Special issue on cyber-security of critical infrastructure

Your hospital needs you: Eliciting positive cybersecurity behaviours from healthcare staff

Dawn Branley-Bell
Northumbria University
Lynne Coventry
Northumbria University
Elizabeth Sillence
Northumbria University
Sabina Magalini
Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Gemelli
Pasquale Mari
Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Gemelli
Aimilia Magkanaraki
7th Health Region of Crete
Kalliopi Anastasopoulou
7th Health Region of Crete
Published November 17, 2020
  • cybersecurity,
  • insecure behaviour,
  • healthcare,
  • security,
  • behaviour change
How to Cite
Branley-Bell, D., Coventry, L., Sillence, E., Magalini, S., Mari, P., Magkanaraki, A., & Anastasopoulou, K. (2020). Your hospital needs you: Eliciting positive cybersecurity behaviours from healthcare staff. Annals of Disaster Risk Sciences, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.51381/adrs.v3i1.51


Staff behaviour plays a key role in the cybersecurity position of an organisation. Despite this, behaviour-change interventions are not commonly applied within the field of cybersecurity. Behaviour change technique could be particularly beneficial given increasing concerns around healthcare cybersecurity risks; particularly following the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack which had devastating results on healthcare services. Cyber-risk is particularly concerning within healthcare given the criticality of medical systems and the potential impacts of a cyberbreach or attack. In worst case scenarios, cybersecurity incidents could result in patient harm or even fatalities. Whilst there has been concerted investment in improving healthcare’s technological defences against cyberthreat, the same level of investment has not been made in healthcare staff. This has left staff behaviour as a vulnerability which can be exploited by attackers. This paper introduces a structured approach to help organisations work through four key steps that we refer to as the AIDE approach to Assess, Identify, Develop and Evaluate behaviour change techniques to facilitate more secure behaviour. We include a worked example of how we are applying this approach to the development of interventions to mitigate insecure cybersecurity behaviours in a healthcare context.


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