Project Description

Improved computer security requires improvements requires identify risk, mitigating risks, and when mitigating risks creates a loss of functionality providing effective risk communication so that people can make informed trade-offs. Through a range of project in the lab we seek to provide to people the security they need and the privacy they want for an online environment they can trust. The two projects that would best suit undergraduate researchers are out chatbot and our risk analytics. The chatbot focuses on the creation of a conversational chatbot to communication privacy risks, options to protect privacy, and how to implement those choices. The risk analytics focus on identification of cognitive biases and heuristics which prevent caregivers from properly assessing a range of risk, with a focus on the risk of exploitation of children. Child exploitation is founded on deceptive trust processes which involves manipulation of both the child and, often, the child’s support system. In this study, we will link the manipulation strategies used by child predators to the cognitive heuristics which make both children and their caregivers vulnerable. The aim of this study is to determine how we can counter the inherent cognitive biases of children and caregivers to empower them to appropriately assess exploitation risks. The results will be survey mechanisms for identifying cognitive biases in the domain, online training to counter these biases, and an evaluation of the efficacy of this training.

Technology or Computational Component

There are three elements of these projects that are needed. One is programming the chatbot, which is currently in Python. The second is the engagement with different types of risks which requires javascript and image manipulations. Web design and programming skills would be good. The third is the design and implementation of usability and acceptability experiments as these projects are completed.