Lightning Talk 2

Chair: Stacey Conchie

LT2, Wednesday 20th, 1230-1400

Tiegan Blackhurst

Postgraduate Researcher | Lancaster University

Exploring the impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder on deceptive communication and deception detection.

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

Within society, there is a stereotypical belief that gaze aversion, unusual body language, and atypical speech patterns are cues to deception. However, gaze aversion, unusual body language, and atypical speech are also characteristic behaviours of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This may result in autistic adults being perceived as deceptive, even when telling the truth. Moreover, due to the emotional and cognitive impairments associated with ASD, autistic adults may exhibit a reduced capability to detect deception. Consequently, autistic adults may be uniquely vulnerable to negative contact within the Criminal Justice System (CJS); they may be viewed as erroneously deceptive, or face an increased risk of falling victim to fraud due to potential impairments in their deception detection abilities. The purpose of this talk is to present a brief overview of my research which will investigate whether autistic adults differ from neurotypical adults in their ability to deceive and to detect deception. I will also discuss why this emerging research is crucial for the protection of autistic adults’ future interests.

Co-authors: Dr Lara Warmelink, Dr Calum Hartley


Feni Kontogianni

Lecturer | University of Winchester

Visualizing the membership of organized criminal syndicates: A field evaluation of the Reporting Information about Networks and Groups (RING) task

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

Obtaining detailed information about the structure of criminal and terrorist networks, and the relationships between the individuals involved, is a challenging task for investigators. Capitalising on associative memory theory and the dynamic nature of retrieval cuing, we developed the Reporting of Information about Networks and Groups (RING) task; an information elicitation task which uses a visual format to represent the individuals associated with a specific group. We will provide an overview of a proof-of-concept field test of the RING task in partnership with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (USA). This project comprises: i) a training phase; ii) in-field testing; and iii) focus group discussions. Investigators will conduct interviews using a pen-and-paper or an electronic version of the RING task. This project will collect data on the use of the RING task including investigators’ perceptions of the usability and utility of the RING in gaining information. Focus groups with both investigators and crime analysts will be conducted to evaluate the contribution of the RING task in extending actionable intelligence. The project outcomes will allow further development of the RING according to the needs of source handlers in HUMINT contexts, with additional implications for training and scalability.

Co-authors: Christopher E. Kelly, Joseph’s University (USA); Lorraine Hope, University of Portsmouth (UK); Michael McClary, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Ret.), (USA); Wayne Thomas, University of Portsmouth (UK); Kristoffer Geyer, North of England Commissioning Support Unit, NHS (UK).


David McIlhatton

Professor and Institute Director

What we can learn from Father Ted about National Security

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

In 1995, Father Ted was first aired on UK and Ireland television stations and followed the misadventures of three priests who live on the fictional Craggy Island, located off the west coast of Ireland.

This lightening talk will explore the different storylines that are fundamental considerations for national security with particular emphasis on protecting people in public life, countering and mitigating VBIEDs, radicalisation in remote locations, financial crime, emergency evacuation procedures, mis/dis-information and protest.

Co-authors: Professor Paul Martin, Coventry University


Iain Reid

Lecturer | University of Portsmouth

Securing the code: Software developers perceptions’ of security in their work

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

Software development is required to be agile and responsive to changing environments. Subsequently, organisations are turning towards DevOps to bring development and operations teams together to develop and integrate code. Including security in this process leads to DevSecOps, but folding security into DevOps is not straightforward. Developers often perceive security as an inhibitor to the creativity, speed and agility required in DevOps practices. If developers bypass tools and processes that support secure code then organisations are exposed to increased risk. To address this requires understanding how software developers perceive security and risk in their work. To explore this, semi-structured interviews with 35 software developers was conducted. Exploratory thematic analysis generated themes related to security, including varying perceptions of secure software development.  While developers generally felt that everyone held a degree of responsibility for security they also felt that security experts should support them in practical, realistic and accorded ways reflecting their working practices. By understanding DevOps and DevSecOps as a source of potential insider risk our findings enable us to make recommendations for how to address this risk and weave security into the culture of DevSecOps teams and processes. We conclude with making recommendations for further research.

Co-authors: Dr Gail Ollis, University of Portsmouth; Professor Debi Ashenden, University of Portsmouth/University of Adelaide


Charis Rice

Assistant Professor | Coventry University

Counter-terrorism strategic communication and the situational impacts on the ordering of risks and reality

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

This paper investigates the construction and communication of counter-terrorism public information. Although strategic communication campaigns are variously intended to leverage risk prevention, trigger public reassurance and offender deterrence, the actual meanings they take on are situationally influenced. Contextual factors such as whether there have been recent terrorist attacks, local experiences and collective memories of extremism, relational networks, and socio-political backgrounds, both individually and collectively, transform threat and risk perceptions (Goffman, 1971; Innes, 2014). It is only by attending to these complex interacting influences that we can understand how and why official counter-terrorism messaging plays a role in shaping the social ordering of reality.

Emerging empirical data is derived from the ‘Situational Threat and Response Signals’ (STARS) project, comprising: 1) An inter-disciplinary literature review; 2) A three-way comparative case study of recent UK campaigns (‘See it, Say it, Sorted’; ‘Action Counters Terrorism (ACT); and ‘Security On Your Side’) that spans: a) different threat and risk signals; b) different UK contexts – Northern Ireland, England, Wales. Our case studies involve a frame analysis (Entman, 1993) of campaign materials that attends to how assets aesthetically configure and frame particular modalities of threat, as well as elite interviews, public focus groups, and social media analysis.

Co-authors: Professor Martin Innes, Cardiff University; Ms Jenny Ratcliffe, Coventry University


Mattias Sjoberg

PhD | Lancaster University

Communication behaviours in military investigative interviews

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

Previous research suggests that a cylinder model (Taylor, 2002; 2004) can adequately describe communication behaviours within crisis negotiations, with speakers displaying one of three motivational frames across three orientations toward the interaction.

Attempting to better understand the structure of communication behaviours in a sample of military investigative interviews, and whether a similar cylinder structure might be observed, 24 military interviews were coded on an utterance-by-utterance unit level of analysis (13 interviews were second coded; Cohen’s k = .73). In total, 54 different communication behaviours were identified and submitted to a proximity coefficient analysis and then a smallest space analysis.

Preliminary findings suggested some similarities to the cylinder structure with cooperative, avoidant, and competitive communication behaviours, and instrumental, relational, and identity motivations often clustering together. Potential deviations from the model were discussed and interpreted in light of the possible differences between crisis negotiations and military investigative interviews.

Co-authors: Professors Paul Taylor & Stacey Conchie, Lancaster University


Lara Warmelink

Senior Lecturer | Lancaster University

Security research through space and time: cultural differences and changes

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

Research on information elicitation, deception detection and criminal behaviour show that effects observed in one country do not necessarily generalise to other countries. Cultural differences, including differences in individualism-collectivism and risk aversion, explain some of these differences. As cross-cultural research in security has increased, a new question arises: how constant are cultural differences? Pieterse (1996) laid out three possible ways cultural differences might respond to globalisation:

1) the differences might be erased,

2) they may remain constant or even harden and

3) the cultures might ‘hybridise’: creating new cultural differences that may have different localisations and characteristics than the old cultural differences.

Since 1996, substantial evidence for cultural hybridisation has emerged in social and economic contexts. This lightning talk will discuss how security research could be at the forefront of tracking changes in cultural differences and what benefits this would have for security research.


Charles Weir

Research Fellow | Lancaster University

Bringing objective cyber risk assessments to software development teams

Session: Lightning Talks #2 – LT2

This lightening talk explores one way we can develop and improve the evidence base for existing and new forms of deterrence. It introduces our HIPSTER project (https://lancaster.ac.uk/hipster), which helps Health IoT software developers to improve their cybersecurity, especially in the absence of security professionals.  To do this requires us to create objective risk assessments of the Health IoT threat landscape and find ways to communicate them to software developers and product managers.

The talk will explore the ways to do this, ranging from Monte Carlo-based analysis of the publicly-available MITRE ATT&CK data; through use of commercial intelligence, and private commercial knowledge; to ways to harness anecdotal threat evidence from experts. It will suggest ways to present such knowledge in developer-friendly form, both in graphical presentations and directly in card-based games.

Such techniques will be scalable for use in almost any other domain and with many other kinds of stakeholder, and offer an important area of research for the future.

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