Culturing defensive immunity: hardening psychological targets against cyber attack

Mils Hills, Guy Batchelor, Nasser Abouzakhar (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Academics in business science and elsewhere have begun to look at what Vaughan (1999) called the “dark side of organisations” and started to engage with the fact that people connected to cyber systems can be the source of great opportunity for exploitation. MacGillivray (2014) notes that organisations should be seen as socio-technical: where infrastructure and systems shape and are shaped by the people that work with them. The current paper puts these sociotechnical systems at the heart of cyber-attack and defence - where we see ‘cyber’ as being shorthand for any computer dependent technologies used to achieve dark effects on the human mind and subsequent behaviour (e.g. SMS received on a mobile phone).There is no logic to restrictively focussing on user behaviour around laptops and desktops. This paper provides some unconventional examples of cyber-attack. Our concern is with enabling decision-makers (or those supporting them) to challenge their assumptions about information received, adjust behaviours accordingly and thereby render them and their organisations increasingly resilient to the efforts of creative adversaries, no matter whether those adversaries motivation is commercial, political or personal. From such target-hardening arises organisational competitive advantage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The 14th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security ECCWS-2015, The University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK, 2-3 July 2015
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Number of pages467
ISBN (Print)9781910810286
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2015


  • Cyber-security
  • information warfare
  • situational awareness
  • risk
  • socio-technical risk


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