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A Socio-Technical and Co-evolutionary Framework for Reducing Human-Related Risks in Cyber Security and Cybercrime Ecosystems

Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS,volume 1123)


The focus on cyber security as an interaction between technical elements and humans has typically confined consideration of the latter to practical issues of implementation, conventionally those of ‘human performance factors’ of vigilance etc., ‘raising awareness’ and/or ‘incentivization’ of people and organizations to participate and adapt their behavior. But this is far too narrow a view that seriously constrains the ability of cyber security as a whole to adapt and evolve to keep up with adaptive, innovative attackers in a rapidly-changing technological, business and social landscape, in which personal preferences of users are also dynamically evolving.

While there is isolated research across different research areas, we noticed the lack of a holistic framework combining a range of applicable theoretical concepts (e.g., cultural co-evolution such as technological arms races, opportunity management, behavioral and business models) and technological solutions on reducing human-related risks in the cyber security and cybercrime ecosystems, which involve multiple groups of human actors including offenders, victims, preventers and promoters. This paper reports our ongoing work in developing such a socio-technical framework (1) to allow a more comprehensive understanding of human-related risks within cyber security and cybercrime ecosystems and (2) to support the design of more effective approaches to engaging individuals and organizations in the reduction of such risks. We are in the process of instantiating this framework to encourage behavioral changes in two use cases that capture diverse and complicated socio-technical interactions in cyber-physical systems.


  • Socio-technical
  • Framework
  • Human factors
  • Human behavior
  • Risk management
  • Cyber security
  • Cybercrime
  • Co-evolution
  • Ontology
  • Transportation
  • Human-as-a-Security-Sensor (HaaSS)
  • Crime prevention

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    This is less straightforward for victim and promoter roles, as both could develop into preventers or even offenders.


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This work was supported by the research project, “ACCEPT: Addressing Cybersecurity and Cybercrime via a co-Evolutionary aPproach to reducing human-relaTed risks” (, funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) in the UK, under grant number EP/P011896/1 and EP/P011896/2.

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Islam, T. et al. (2019). A Socio-Technical and Co-evolutionary Framework for Reducing Human-Related Risks in Cyber Security and Cybercrime Ecosystems. In: Wang, G., Bhuiyan, M.Z.A., De Capitani di Vimercati, S., Ren, Y. (eds) Dependability in Sensor, Cloud, and Big Data Systems and Applications. DependSys 2019. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1123. Springer, Singapore.

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