Kimberly Ferguson-Walter - Laboratory for Advanced Cybersecurity Research, NSA Research
Students: Fall 2021, unless noted otherwise, sessions will be virtual on Zoom.
Maximizing Cyber Deception to Improve Security: An Empirical Analysis
Dec 02, 2020Download: MP4 Video Size: 657.8MB
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AbstractThe threat of cyber attacks is a growing concern across the world, leading to an increasing need for sophisticated cyber defense techniques that leverage the defender’s “home field advantage". We designed the Tularosa Study to understand how defensive deception, both cyber and psychological, affects cyber attackers. Over 130 professional red teamers participated in a network penetration test over two days in which both the presence of and explicit mention of deceptive defensive techniques were controlled. To our knowledge, this represents the largest study of its kind ever conducted on a skilled red team population. The design was conducted with a battery of questionnaires (e.g., experience, personality, etc.) and cognitive tasks (e.g., fluid intelligence, working memory, etc.), allowing for the characterization of a “typical” red teamer, as well as physiological measures (e.g., galvanic skin response, heart rate, etc.) to be correlated with the cyber events. Preliminary results support a new finding that the combination of the presence of deception and the true information that deception is present has the greatest effect on cyber attackers, when compared to a control condition in which no deception was used.
Immediately following Dr. Ferguson-Walter's seminar, join CERIAS for a unique opportunity to hear six professionals from NSA -- including two Purdue alumni -- who will share their careers and experiences as cybersecurity researchers and practitioners. The panelists will describe opportunities for students and graduates, and answer questions from the audience about their work and life at NSA.
[Note: Only US citizens are able to work at the NSA.]
Topic: What is it like to work at the National Security Agency (NSA)
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Eric Bryant is currently serving as a Director of Cybersecurity Operations in the NSA/CSS Cybersecurity Operations Center (NCSOC). In this capacity, he is responsible for leading a diverse team working around the clock to prevent and eradicate cybersecurity threats to the nation. He also serves as NSA’s Academic Liaison to Purdue University, where he graduated with a degree in computer science and is an alumni of CERIAS.
Dr. Josiah Dykstra is a Technical Fellow and Senior Executive in the Cybersecurity Collaboration Center of the National Security Agency. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science and previously served at NSA as a cyber operator and researcher. Dr. Dykstra is interested in cybersecurity science and how humans intersect with technology. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed research papers and one book.
Dr. Kimberly Ferguson-Walter is a Senior Research Scientist with NSA’s Laboratory for Advanced Cybersecurity Research where her research focuses on the intersection of computer security, artificial intelligence, and human behavior. She has been focused on adaptive cybersecurity at the NSA for the past ten years and is the lead for the Research Directorate’s deception for cyber-defense effort. She has a Ph.D. in computer science and is currently on joint-duty assignment to the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific to perform collaborative research and facilitate strategic alignment and technology transfers.
Natalie Janiszewski is a Higher Education Outreach Advocate with NSA's office of Academic Engagement. Natalie brings over 25 years of educational experience to her role at NSA. She is responsible for maintaining strong relationships with academic institutions to influence curriculum and encourage activities in NSA's mission-critical areas: science, technology. engineering, math, intelligence analysis, language and cybersecurity. Natalie taught classes in a graduate program for educational technology. Her passion lies in designing environments that facilitate durable, actionable learning for students.
Joel Klasa graduated from Purdue in May 2020 with a degree in computer science and participated in the NSA co-op program throughout his time at Purdue. Upon graduation, he was hired into a development program at the agency and has a current focus of machine learning and artificial intelligence in cybersecurity.
Dr. Celeste Lyn Paul is a senior researcher and technical leader at the National Security Agency. Her work has focused on a broad range of topics including emerging technologies, human factors in security, and more recently, securing cyberspace in outer space.
About the Speaker
Dr Kimberly Ferguson-Walter is a Senior Research Scientist for the Laboratory for Advanced Cybersecurity Research. She earned a BS in Information and Computer Science from the University of California Irvine, cum laude, with a specialization in artificial intelligence and her MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interests are focused on the intersection of computer security, artificial intelligence, and human behavior. She has been focused on adaptive cybersecurity for the past ten years and is the lead for the Research Directorate’s deception for cyber-defense effort. Her research background also includes reinforcement learning, transfer learning, representation learning, and intelligent tutoring systems. She is currently on joint-duty assignment to the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific to perform collaborative research and facilitate strategic alignment and technology transfers. She has organized multiple international workshops on cyber deception, autonomous cyber operations, and cognitive security. Dr Ferguson-Walter is a founding member of the Cybersecurity Technical Group of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and co-chairs a mini-track at the Hawaiian International Conference on System Science (HICSS) on Cyber Deception and Cyber Psychology for Defense.