More cybersecurity thanks to higher stress resilience

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 (Image: Pixabay CC0)
(Image: Pixabay CC0)

A hacker attack always hits a company on the wrong foot. Even in organizations that are well prepared, the employees responsible for IT security are under enormous pressure in the "zero hour". Within a very short time, they have to identify a solution for a mostly hardly assessable extent of damage in order to keep their organization running smoothly.

This challenge under time pressure requires great intellectual commitment and a high degree of resilience under stress. The importance of stress in IT security practice is well known but largely unexplored scientifically. However, understanding stress is central to strong resilience. How does a security professional’s performance change in different scenarios and under different stress conditions? What stress management measures can be taken to minimize stress levels in everyday security practice?

Researchers from the Chair of Data and Application Security at the University of Liechtenstein are addressing these highly exciting interdisciplinary questions together with colleagues from several universities in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Norway as part of a research project funded by EEA Grants. At the last meeting of the project team at the University of Liechtenstein, a novel experiment was conducted to gain new insights into stress measurement during cybersecurity exercises. This involved using commercially available heart rate sensors to first measure typical indicators in subjects using common stress-producing tasks known from psychophysiology. The team then compared the reference values obtained in this way with the results of measurements taken during cybersecurity exercises.

The aim of the project is to further develop the measurements so that the difficulty level of the exercises can be adapted to the performance of the safety experts in order to continuously optimize the learning progress.

EEA Grants: The EEA funding mechanism EEA Grants aims to increase the competitiveness of the sponsoring countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in Europe and thus to open up new trading partners and sales markets. The program partner in Liechtenstein is the Liechtenstein Agency for International Educational Affairs (AIBA).