Are you impulsive when it comes to online shopping or downloading music? If so, then you may be at a higher risk of becoming a victim of cyber attacks, a new study has warned.
Being impulsive while online can make you cybercrime victim
According to the researchers, hackers and cybercriminals know that people with low self-control are the ones who will be scouring the Internet for what they want -- or think they want -- which is how they know what sites, files or methods to attack.
"People who show signs of low self-control are the ones we found more susceptible to malware attacks," Holt added.
The research team said that low self-control comes in many forms. This type of person shows signs of short-sightedness, negligence, physical versus verbal behaviour and an inability to delay gratification.
For the study, published in the journal Social Science Computer Review, the team assessed the self-control of nearly 6,000 survey participants, as well as their computers' behaviour that could indicate malware and infection.
To measure victimisation, they asked participants a series of questions about how they might react in certain situations.
For computer behaviour, they asked about their computer having slower processing, crashing, unexpected pop-ups and the homepage changing on their web browser.
"Self-control is an idea that's been looked at heavily in criminology in terms of its connection to committing crimes," Holt said.
"But we find a correlation between low self-control and victimization; people with this trait put themselves in situations where they are near others who are motivated to break the law," Holt added.
Understanding the psychological side of self-control and the types of people whose computers become infected with malware -- and who likely spread it to others -- is critical in fighting cybercrime, the researcher noted.