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Title: Human decision-making in computer security incident response
Author: Spring, Jonathan Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 1171
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Background: Cybersecurity has risen to international importance. Almost every organization will fall victim to a successful cyberattack. Yet, guidance for computer security incident response analysts is inadequate. Research Questions: What heuristics should an incident analyst use to construct general knowledge and analyse attacks? Can we construct formal tools to enable automated decision support for the analyst with such heuristics and knowledge? Method: We take an interdisciplinary approach. To answer the first question, we use the research tradition of philosophy of science, specifically the study of mechanisms. To answer the question on formal tools, we use the research tradition of program verification and logic, specifically Separation Logic. Results: We identify several heuristics from biological sciences that cybersecurity researchers have re-invented to varying degrees. We consolidate the new mechanisms literature to yield heuristics related to the fact that knowledge is of clusters of multi-field mechanism schema on four dimensions. General knowledge structures such as the intrusion kill chain provide context and provide hypotheses for filling in details. The philosophical analysis answers this research question, and also provides constraints on building the logic. Finally, we succeed in defining an incident analysis logic resembling Separation Logic and translating the kill chain into it as a proof of concept. Conclusion: These results benefits incident analysis, enabling it to expand from a tradecraft or art to also integrate science. Future research might realize our logic into automated decision-support. Additionally, we have opened the field of cybersecuity to collaboration with philosophers of science and logicians.
Supervisor: Pym, D. ; Illari, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available