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Editorial: Cognition, Behavior and Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity appears to be the ultimate paradox: while cybersecurity budgets are increased every year, and a vast array of new security products and services appear in the market, cyber attacks have been increasing in scale and scope every year. 2020 will perhaps be ...

Published onAug 05, 2021
Editorial: Cognition, Behavior and Cybersecurity
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Editorial: Cognition, Behavior and Cybersecurity
Editorial: Cognition, Behavior and Cybersecurity

In this Research Topic, we have tried to present an alternative but highly complementary view to the almost total focus on purely technical solutions in cybersecurity, namely -that cybersecurity attacks ultimately succeed because they target the cognitive and behavioural vulnerabilities of ordinary users, and that for attacks to be prevented (at best) or mitigated (at least), user-focused techniques must be researched, fostered and developed.The small but growing band of dedicated researchers and practitioners in human factors in cybersecurity is making real inroads into developing a holistic view on how fundamental psychological principles -cognition, behaviour, perception, motivation and emotion, to name but a few -can be readily understood within a sociotechnical context to be the primary basis for embracing a security-by-design philosophy.Humans are complex beasts. They are motivated by a range of conscious factors and unconscious biases from making decisions that are highly exploitable by cybercriminals. Phishing texts, for example, are carefully designed to create a sense of urgency in the receiver, while malware delivery relies on the routinised habit of clicking on links. More generally, scammers exploit our inability to reconcile conflicting information in time-pressured circumstances, and our susceptibility to buy overpriced commodities during a market bubble as described in greater fool theory.If there is one conclusion that we can draw from the body of work pre...


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