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IARPA Launches Competition to Take Advantage of Psychological Weaknesses Versus Hackers

Cognitive vulnerabilities

IARPA Launches Competition to Take Advantage of Psychological Weaknesses Versus Hackers

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is inviting expert hackers to join the Reimagining Security with Cyberpsychology-Informed Network Defenses competition. Under the ReSCIND competition, IARPA will fund the most promising software proposals that will study and exploit the psychological weaknesses and cognitive vulnerabilities of hackers in a bid to build the capabilities of defenders against cyberattacks.

IARPA program manager Kimberly Ferguson-Walter said attackers often take advantage of human limitations and errors when they attack so the initiative will just flip the table to weaponize the attackers’ weaknesses, CyberScoop reported.

Ferguson-Walter said cognitive vulnerabilities, which refer to any sort of human limitation, could be used in network defense by tricking an attacker to break into a network through a frustrating and time-consuming technique.

She said the Peltzman Effect is another weakness that could be exploited as it tends to make people behave in a more risky manner when they feel safe. She said this could be used against an attacker by creating a perception that a network is poorly defended.

Ferguson-Walter said cyberpsychology allows defenders to exploit human frailties to design a defensive system that can counter cyberattacks.

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Category: Cybersecurity

Tags: cyber psychology CyberScoop cybersecurity IARPA Kimberly Ferguson-Walter Office of National Intelligence