White papers sought to describe the human factor in cyber-insecurity

Published 4 December 2006

Cyber Security Knowledge Tranfer Network offers £50,000 to winning “human factors working group”; understanding how phishers and hackers exploit psychology a critical endeavor; winning applicants will devise a method that raises awareness, has little cost, and builds demand for cybersecurity products

Is there an expert in the house? The Cyber Security Knowledge Tranfer Network (KTN) — funded by the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and managed by defence and security firm QinetiQ — is looking for some pundits to form a “human factors working group” to work on a white paper addressing IT security problems caused by, well, human factors. “Whether applicants wanting to produce the white paper are individuals or consortiums is up to them,” said QinetiQ’s Sadie Creese, but psychologists and sociologists are particularly urged to apply. Hackers, phishers, and other cyber miscreants often exploit human weaknesses — greed, loneliness, even just curiosity — to gain access to their passwords or install viruses on their computers, and there can be little doubt that some expert attention should be paid.

We are expecting offers detailing who might be involved and justifying their costs,” said Creese, the cost being the £50,000 in funding at stake for the winning entrant. The KTN is particularly interested in initiatives that: communicate the risks associated with interactions on the Internet; build trust in cybersecurity technologies, solutions and practices; build demand for cybersecurity solutions; and are easy to use by non-expert users.

-read more in Tim Young’s Vnunet report