CS Special Seminar: Verena Distler "Building a Resilient Digital Future: Human-Centered Approaches to Improve Resilience Against Cybersecurity Attacks"

This talk is arranged at the Department of Computer Science.

Building a Resilient Digital Future: Human-Centered Approaches to Improve Resilience Against Cybersecurity Attacks

Verena Distler 
University of the Bundeswehr Munich

Abstract: In recent years, the cybercrime industry has undergone unprecedented professionalization, resulting in a surge of attacks with damaging consequences for individuals, organizations, and society at large. Humans play a central role in a majority of these cyber attacks as hackers exploit human behaviors while using computing systems. Considering these threats, it is essential to develop human-centered protection strategies. I propose to address this challenge through an interdisciplinary approach that merges psychology, human-computer interaction, and cybersecurity to gain nuanced insights into the difficulties individuals encounter when using technology. In this talk, I will delve into the methodological hurdles inherent in studying human-centered security and describe how an improved understanding of human psychology can mitigate human-centered threats, with a particular focus on social engineering. I will also outline a vision for my forthcoming research endeavors, emphasizing the significance of contextual factors and advocating for self-efficacy-focused, emotion-aware approaches to strengthen technology users against social engineering attacks.

Bio: Verena Distler is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of the Bundeswehr Munich, Germany. Dr. Distler’s research at the intersection of psychology, human-computer interaction, and security/privacy uses social science research methods to understand the interplay between people and technology, focusing on security-related and otherwise deceptive interactions with technology. She uses these insights to develop human-centered solutions against cyber threats. Dr. Distler earned her PhD in psychology at the University of Luxembourg, focusing on human-computer interaction and human-centered security. During her PhD, Dr. Distler was a visiting researcher at Carnegie Mellon University’s Cylab. Previously, she obtained a master’s degree in social sciences at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France. Dr. Distler’s scholarship has been recognized by an excellent Ph.D. thesis award from the psychology doctoral program at the University of Luxembourg.

Department of Computer Science

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