We know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to behaviour change.
At CybSafe, we’re building a future that reshapes the way organisations approach human cyber risks.
We see science as an integral part of understanding human behaviour.
There are hundreds of cyber security companies focussing on human cyber risk, but CybSafe is one of the only ones committed to advancing the field of cyber security behavioural science. In fact, we are one of the few organisations of our type with a dedicated behavioural science team focused on research and analysis.
The CybSafe Research & Analysis Team have been designing and delivering behaviour change for nearly a decade. They focus on using behavioural science to reshape the way organisations approach human cyber risks. The team comprises researchers with backgrounds in psychology, cyber security and cybercrime.
Dr. John Blythe, CPsychol
Head of Behavioural Science
The team is led by Dr John Blythe, our Head of Behavioural Science, is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and an Honorary Research Fellow at the UCL Dawes Centre for Future Crime. John has a PhD in the psychology of cyber security and has worked at the Centre for Behaviour Change and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport advising on behaviour change strategy for cyber security.
Understanding the science of human behaviour is key to building a future that reshapes the way organisations approach human cyber risks and our Research and Analysis work is based on three key principles:
Insights and best practice from psychology to change behaviour
Scientifically evaluated to know what works in changing behaviour and why
People-centric so that people are both productive and secure at work
Most organisations fail to measure their human cyber risk. Some measure security training uptake. Some go a little further and measure suspicious link-clicks or report-rates. But very few can answer key security questions such as “How has our human cyber risk changed over time?” and “Which security interventions reduce most risk?“.
This whitepaper reveals how today’s security teams can build a secure culture. Following characteristically thorough research, lead author Dr. John Blythe explains why secure cultures are few and far between and how to build a secure culture in your organisation.
In this whitepaper, we outline the CybSafe approach to applying behavioural science, how it’s embedded in everything we do and how our products drive behaviour change in employees.
Our product is developed and maintained through research and in collaboration with world-renowned academic research partners. We want to protect people online by building the best product we can whilst also contributing to academic knowledge and government policy. Only through collaboration and policy impact can we help to address the wicked problem of cyber security and keep people, businesses and nations safe online.
The team collaborates with a number of academic institutions (UCL, University of Bath, University of Bristol, Cardiff University, University of Kent and Northumbria University). Here is some of the work we currently lead on or are involved in:
Cyber Security Quirks
Cyber Security Quirks is funded by the Home Office and part of the Research Institute in Sociotechnical Cyber Security. The project explores the role of personalisation in cyber security behaviour interventions by taking account of individual variability.
Simulated Phishing and Employee Cyber security behaviour (SPEC) is led by CybSafe in conjunction with the University of Bath. Funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats the project explores the impact of simulated phishing emails on employee awareness and work-based outcomes such as productivity and trust. Read more about the project here.
PHISHTRAY is a modifiable open source e-tray software for research and training applications related to social engineering for use in academia and industry. Funded by CPNI and developed by behavioural scientists from the University of Bath and University of Bristol in conjunction with CybSafe.
Gentle Interventions for Security led by Dr. Emily Collins at the University of Bath is developing and evaluating “gentle interventions” using ambient displays, across the home and workplace, to create healthy and habitual cyber security behaviours.
The PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub is a consortium of nine leading UK universities which explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security related to Internet of Things technology. We currently support the Consumer Security Index project, exploring labelling schemes for consumer products and the Cyber Hygiene project, exploring behaviour change interventions for cyber security behaviour.
University of Kent
Led by Dr. Jason Nurse and starting in Summer 2020, we will be supporting a PhD programme exploring the cyber security issues faced by technology users in the home environment with a focus on behaviour change interventions for different home users (such as adults, teenagers) with emerging Internet of Things technology,
Dawes Centre for Future Crime
The Dawes Centre for Future Crime part of the Security and Crime Science department at UCL.identifies emerging crime threats that arise from greater internet connectedness and works towards delivering pre-emptive interventions for the benefit of society.
The SPRITE+ hub brings together people involved in research, practice, and policy relevant with a focus on digital contexts. We are are a project partner helping to identify the future challenges of security, privacy, identity & trust in the digital world.
CybSafe is an associate partner of the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats a national hub delivering world-class, interdisciplinary portfolio of activity maximising the value of behavioural and social science research to understanding, mitigating and countering threats to national security.
Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security
The Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security is the UK’s first academic Research Institute to focus on understanding the overall security of organisations, including their constituent technology, people and processes. It is now in its second phase.
Safe as Houses: TIPS in Home Office Environments
As a result of COVID-19, many workplaces had to suddenly transition to remote working, despite a lack of training, remote-working policies, or in some cases, work devices. Coupled with the pressures of working from home in this context (e.g. childcare, impaired work-life balance), this new way of working has changed the risks and challenges surrounding workplace Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security (TIPS). This is exacerbated even further with the increase in cyberattacks specifically targeting remote workers. This work will therefore aim to explore and identify these issues, taking a socio-technical approach and focusing on small and large organisations. Our goal is to provide key, novel insights into the new challenges and tensions in relation to TIPS in these environments, and thereby provide the much-need foundation for approaches to address these issues.
Read more about the project.
Government and regulators
We are supporting the FCA on guidance regarding how firms should measure, address and report on cyber awareness and culture risk within their organisations.
The sociotechnical group of NCSC focuses on how technology interacts with people, process and technology. We are working with NCSC on people-centric security and their awareness and behaviour change guidance.
We are working with the Cyber Security and Data Protection Directorate on improving cyber resilience in UK organisations.
Research Advisory Group
We strive to make sure that we are doing the best work possible. As such, we have a Research Advisory Group, comprising of leading cyber security experts, who provide independent high-level strategic advice and input into the development of the Research and Analysis activities conducted at CybSafe.
Prof. Adam Joinson
Prof. Adam Joinson conducts inter-disciplinary research on the interaction between human behaviour and technology, he is programme lead for the national Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats, as well as, running funded projects on individual susceptibility to malevolent influence techniques (e.g. phishing), communication accommodation, and behaviour change and technology.
Prof. Lynne Coventry
Prof. Lynne Coventry is the Director of PaCT (Psychology and Communication Technology) at Northumbria University. She is an applied researcher who is keen to explore new ways of integrating psychology into design and technology development processes.
Prof. Shane Johnson
Prof. Shane Johnson is the Director of the Dawes Centre for Future Crime at UCL. He has worked within the fields of criminology and forensic psychology for two decades, and his research has explored how methods from other disciplines can inform understanding of crime and security issues.
Dr. Emily Collins
Dr. Emily Collins is a behavioural scientist in the Applied Digital Behaviour Lab at the University of Bath. With a background in Psychology and Human Computer Interaction, Emily specialises in cross-disciplinary research focusing on how technology can support and benefit users, especially in relation to cyber security behaviours.
Dr. Jason Nurse
Dr. Jason Nurse is an Asst. Professor in Cyber Security at the University of Kent. He is also a Visiting Academic at the University of Oxford and a Visiting Fellow in Defence and Security at Cranfield University. His research investigates the human and psychological aspects of cyber security, privacy and trust
Dr. Emma Williams
Dr. Emma Williams is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She has particular expertise in the area of online behaviour and human aspects of cyber security and cyber crime, using a range of research methods to investigate these areas.
A senior researcher from NCSC’s Sociotechnical Security Group
Resources & Events
IMPACT2020 is about facilitating discussion and collaboration between academia and industry. And it’s about the latest academic research on the human aspect of cyber security. World leading-academic experts will discuss the latest research implications for policy and practice.