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U.S. Intelligence Wants to Use Psychology to Avert Cyberattacks


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A soldier working on a laptop, shown in silhouette.

"There has been not enough focus in the cybersecurity research world on understanding how cyberattackers behave, make decisions, select strategies, how their cognition works," said Kimberly Ferguson-Walter, manager of the program at the Intelligence Advan

Credit: Konkov Sergei/Zuma Press

The main research organization of the U.S. intelligence community is hunting for ways to use psychological theories to thwart cyberattacks.  

Scientists at IARPA are studying how to understand and predict hackers' behavior to be more effective in stopping cyber incidents. 

"There has been not enough focus in the cybersecurity research world on understanding how cyberattackers behave, make decisions, select strategies, how their cognition works," said Kimberly Ferguson-Walter, manager of the program at the U.S. Defense Department's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).

The goal is to design systems that incorporate human limitations, such as biases in how people make decisions, to prevent hackers' movements or delay cyberattacks, according to a request for participants in IARPA research. Ultimately, algorithms embedded in tools could adapt to hackers' observed behavior.

From The Wall Street Journal
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