Get inside the mind of a cyber criminal

8 Nov 2011

A student experiences the high-specification Virtual Reality Laboratory in IADT, the VLab

Based on their book The Psychology of Cyber Crime, two lecturers from Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) will hold a seminar tomorrow to look at how cyber criminals deploy innovative techniques to manipulate human behaviour.

Andrew Power and Dr Gráinne Kirwan will present the seminar entitled ‘Innovative Exploitation of Human Behaviour by Cybercriminals’, in IADT’s Atrium Building tomorrow at 7pm.

This lecture is based on the findings from their book, due to be published later this month, and is the second in their lecture series as a part of the Innovation Dublin Festival.

Among the topics discussed will be a description of how cyber criminals employ psychological techniques in order to engage and manipulate victims.

Thought processes of cyber criminals

“It’s really important for people to understand the thought process these criminals are using,” explained Kirwan, a psychology lecturer at IADT. Her area of expertise is in cyber psychology, in particular, forensic cyber psychology, the psychology of virtual reality and computer-mediated communication.

“They’ll exploit weaknesses in human perception and decision making, utilising their preferred victims’ psychology any way they can to persuade people to part with personal information, even persuading children or adolescents to meet them offline. Once people understand what to watch out for they can start changing their behaviour.” 

Power and Kirwan will cover the vast array of cyber crimes out there right now, as well as describing psychological techniques used by offenders. 

They will also advise attendees on how to protect themselves and from such techniques.

The duo already held a workshop entitled ‘Innovative Research in Cyberpsychology,’ on 26 October to showcase research projects conducted by staff in the CCTA – the research centre for the School of Creative Technologies at IADT.

While it does not cost anything to attend tomorrow’s lecture, pre-booking is required.

“It is one of a number of emphasis IADT is running as it’s exploring how technology is being used in the area of crime,” said Power, who is the head of the School of Creative Technologies at IADT and manager of the CCTA.

Converging tech, art and enterprise

IADT itself aims to be at the forefront of teaching, research and innovation at the convergence of the arts, technology and enterprise, and to contribute to Ireland’s development as a creative knowledge economy.

Launched in 2009, Innovation Dublin is a Creative Dublin Alliance Project co-ordinated by Dublin City Council (Economic Development Unit).

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic