Tuesday, April 8, 2014

UNO Gets $223,000 NSF Grant to Study Psychology of Cybersecurity

(from left) Carl Weems, professor of psychology; Golden Richard, professor of computer science; and Irfan Ahmed, assistant professor of computer science(from left) Carl Weems, professor of psychology; Golden Richard, professor of computer science; and Irfan Ahmed, assistant professor of computer science

The University of New Orleans has been awarded a $223,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to integrate computer science with psychology for the detection and prevention of cybersecurity risk.

The project is a novel collaboration among two computer science cybersecurity researchers and a psychologist that will generate data on attention and personality factors in cybersecurity. The research will be conducted at UNO's Greater New Orleans Center for Information Assurance by Golden Richard, professor of computer science; Carl Weems, professor of psychology; and Irfan Ahmed, assistant professor of computer science.

The premise of the research is that specific cognitive preferences and related personality factors can be assessed in real time and these may aid in the detection and prevention of cybersecurity risk. Researchers will recruit adult volunteers to participate in experimental computer sessions and their reactions and responses will be monitored and analyzed by an innovative software program that will be developed during the project.

By studying the links between psychological factors and cyber behaviors during real world scenarios, it may be possible to create adaptive software systems, such as user interfaces, alerting systems and security monitors that tap individual preferences to substantially reduce the risks or effects of cyber-attacks.

The data from the study may allow future adaptive cybersecurity solutions to be better tailored to individual user traits and preferences than current generation systems. The research has the potential to benefit law enforcement, the military and corporations, as well as individual citizens, through improved cybersecurity.

The Greater New Orleans Center for Information Assurance at UNO, under the direction of Golden Richard, is the oldest information assurance program in Louisiana. The center performs state-of-the-art research and instruction in areas such as digital forensics, reverse engineering and the analysis of malicious software. It also holds distinguished certifications from the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

 

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