Awards announced for CREST’s third commissioning call

research security threats CREST2

New research tackling security threats announced by CREST

Five new projects addressing security threats faced by the UK have been announced today by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).

In addition to long-term research projects, CREST commissions six- and twelve-month projects to react to new and emerging requirements of its funders. CREST offered £1.12m to fund innovative proposals within this latest round of commissioning. After a rigorous and independent review process, the successful projects (subject to contract) were selected from more than 80 applications.

Speaking about the announcement the Director of CREST, Professor Paul Taylor, said: “We were delighted with the breadth and quality of the applications to our call. The successful projects address problems and issues that pose a serious threat to the security of the UK and we are looking forward to helping understand and counter those threats through this work.”

The successful applicants announced today are:

Simulated phishing and employee cybersecurity behaviour (SPEC)

Dr John Blythe at CybSafe

This project will conduct two studies with differing approaches to investigate (i) how policies on simulated phishing emails are currently implemented in organisations using a cross-sectional survey and (ii) the impact of simulated phishing emails policies on employees’ cyber security awareness and their perceptions of key factors (organisational trust, procedural fairness, stress and perceived monitoring) through an experimental study. Link to project.

Why do people spread disinformation on social media?

Professor Tom Buchanan at the University of Westminster

Individual social media users are key to the spread of disinformation online. By interacting with disinformation, they share it to their own social networks. This can greatly increase its reach, and potential impact on society. Why do people do this? Are they fooled by the disinformation, and spread it because they believe it is true? Do they know the information is fake, but spread it anyway? How does the way a disinformation message is presented influence our likelihood of sharing it? Are some people more likely to share disinformation than others? This project will address those questions. Link to project.

Collecting and Leveraging Identity Cues with Keystroke Analysis (CLICKA)

Dr Oliver Buckley at the University of East Anglia

The project is based on the idea of ‘motor learning’, which suggests that a task becomes more automatic and requires less conscious thought the more it is repeated. In the first instance the project will develop an experimental framework to capture a user’s typing behaviours. This will then be used to create a predictive model, using state-of-the-art machine learning techniques capable of inferring some or part of an anonymous individual’s name. Link to project.

‘Hot periods’ of anti-minority activism and the threat of violent domestic extremism: Towards an assessment framework.

Dr Joel Busher at Coventry University

The aim of this project is to develop a stronger understanding of the dynamics of violent escalation, non-escalation and de-escalation during periods of intense anti-minority activism, and in doing so enhance the ability of state and civil society actors to (a) assess the threat of violent escalation during and in the aftermath of such ‘hot periods’, and (b) more accurately anticipate how planned interventions are likely to play out on the ground. Link to project.

Understanding moral injury and belief change in the experiences of police online child sex crime investigators

Dr Peter Lee at University of Portsmouth and Dr Mark Doyle at Solent University

This project will start by analysing and exploiting primary data from moral injury-related findings. These will subsequently be used to inform a focused enquiry into the causes of moral injury, and consequences such as changes in attitudes, beliefs and behaviour, among police internet child abuse investigators and relevant forensic teams. Link to project.

For more information about the successful applicants please visit the CREST website at: www.crestresearch.ac.uk/projects/.

More projects to come…

Watch this space as the other successful projects (subject to contracts being finalised) will be announced very soon.

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