Factors Influencing User’s Intention to Adopt AI-Based Cybersecurity Systems in the UAE

Mohammed Rashed Mohamed Al Humaid Alneyadi, Md Kassim Normalini
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 18  •  2023  •  pp. 459-486

The UAE and other Middle Eastern countries suffer from various cybersecurity vulnerabilities that are widespread and go undetected. Still, many UAE government organizations rely on human-centric approaches to combat the growing cybersecurity threats. These approaches are ineffective due to the rapid increase in the amount of data in cyberspace, hence necessitating the employment of intelligent technologies such as AI cybersecurity systems. In this regard, this study investigates factors influencing users’ intention to adopt AI-based cybersecurity systems in the UAE.

Even though UAE is ranked among the top countries in embracing emerging technologies such as digital identity, robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent automation, and blockchain technologies, among others, it has experienced sluggish adoption of AI cybersecurity systems. This selectiveness in adopting technology begs the question of what factors could make the UAE embrace or accept new technologies, including AI-based cybersecurity systems. One of the probable reasons for the slow adoption and use of AI in cybersecurity systems in UAE organizations is the employee’s perception and attitudes towards such intelligent technologies.

The study utilized a quantitative approach whereby web-based questionnaires were used to collect data from 370 participants working in UAE government organizations considering or intending to adopt AI-based cybersecurity systems. The data was analyzed using the PLS-SEM approach.

The study is based on the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) framework, widely used in information security research. However, it extends this model by including two more variables, job insecurity and resistance to change, to enhance its predictive/exploratory power. Thus, this research improves PMT and contributes to the body of knowledge on technology acceptance, especially in intelligent cybersecurity technology.

This paper’s findings provide the basis from which further studies can be conducted while at the same time offering critical insights into the measures that can boost the acceptability and use of cybersecurity systems in the UAE. All the hypotheses were accepted. The relationship between the six constructs (perceived vulnerability (PV), perceived severity (PS), perceived response efficacy (PRE), perceived self-efficacy (PSE), job insecurity (JI), and resistance to change (RC)) and the intention to adopt AI cybersecurity systems in the UAE was found to be statistically significant. This paper’s findings provide the basis from which further studies can be conducted while at the same time offering critical insights into the measures that can boost the acceptability and use of cybersecurity systems in the UAE.

All practitioners must be able to take steps and strategies that focus on factors that have a significant impact on increasing usage intentions. PSE and PRE were found to be positively related to the intention to adopt AI-based cybersecurity systems, suggesting the need for practitioners to focus on them. The government can enact legislation that emphasizes the simplicity and awareness of the benefits of cybersecurity systems in organizations.

Further research is needed to include other variables such as facilitating conditions, AI knowledge, social influence, and effort efficacy as well as other frameworks such as UTAUT, to better explain individuals’ behavioral intentions to use cybersecurity systems in the UAE.

This study can help all stakeholders understand what factors can increase users’ interest in investing in the applications that are embedded with security. As a result, they have an impact on economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Future research is expected to investigate additional factors that can influence individuals’ behavioral intention to use cybersecurity systems such as facilitating conditions, AI knowledge, social influence, effort efficacy, as well other variables from UTAUT. International research across nations is also required to build a larger sample size to examine the behavior of users.

AI, cybersecurity systems, UAE, protection motivation theory (PMT), intelligent systems, cyber threats, information security
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