We're Here to Help: Company Image Repair and User Perception of Data Breaches

Zahra Hassanzadeh, Sky Marsen, Robert Biddle

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Data breaches involve information being accessed by unauthorized parties. Our research concerns user perception of data breaches, especially issues relating to accountability. A preliminary study indicated many people had weak understanding of the issues, and felt they themselves were somehow responsible. We speculated that this impression might stem from organizational communication strategies. We therefore compared texts from organizations with those from external sources, such as the news media. This suggested that organizations use well-known crisis communication methods to reduce their reputational damage, and that these strategies align with repositioning of the narrative elements involved in the story. We then conducted a quantitative study, asking participants to rate either organizational texts or news texts about breaches. The findings of this study were in line with our document analysis, and suggest that organizational communication affects the users' perception of victimization, attitudes in data protection, and accountability. Our study suggests some software design and legal implications to support users protecting themselves and developing better mental models of security breaches.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings - Graphics Interface
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventGraphics Interface 2020, GI 2020 - Toronto, Virtual, Online, Canada
Duration: 28 May 202029 May 2020


  • Security and privacy
  • Social aspects of security and privacy
  • Human-centered computing
  • User models


Dive into the research topics of 'We're Here to Help: Company Image Repair and User Perception of Data Breaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this