Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Todd Emma

Committee Members

Brian Bennett, Megan Quinn


This document presents findings related to faculty and staff member’s ability to identify malware threats. This study involved discovering the most common incidents of malware threats to higher education systems. From this research, eight categories of malware were identified to be the most common threats to higher education systems. This document also describes the impact of malware intrusions on higher education systems to emphasis the importance of recognizing malware threats. Faculty and staff members at a midsize southeastern university were presented with realistic scenarios to determine the ability to identify malware threats. The results indicate malware categories such as virus, Trojan, browser hijacker, adware, and ransomware were identifiable by faculty and staff. Additionally, the findings demonstrate malware threats in the worm, spyware, and rootkit categories were difficult for faculty and staff members to identify. A recommendation for educating faculty and staff members to better identify malware threats in the less identified categories was proposed to help mitigate future malware intrusions. Future recommendations include investigating new types of malware risks and students’ awareness, or recognition of malware threats and solutions for mitigating these risks.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.