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Researchers Integrate Social Science Into Cyberattack Project

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Credit: Indiana University Bloomington

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers are helping to develop methods for computers to make security decisions in cyberspace by investigating psychological and human factor issues. Researchers have developed techniques that enable computers to distinguish between real and false cyberattacks, and this capability could lead to computer systems that respond with human decision making and without physical human intervention.

The research is part of the five-year, $23.2 million Models for Enabling Continuous Reconfigurability of Secure Missions project, which uses human behavior models to enable computers to predict the motivations of users, defenders, and attackers. The project uses human behavior models to detect attacks, measure and manage risk, and alter the environment to optimize results.

Humans are integral to maintaining cybersecurity, notes CMU professor Lorrie Cranor. "Their behavior and cognitive and psychological biases have to be integrated as much as any other component of the system that one is trying to secure," she says.

The Army Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, Indiana University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, Riverside also are participating in the project.

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