Ambiguous Self-Induced Disinformation (ASID) Attacks: Weaponizing a Cognitive Deficiency

Abstract:

Humans quickly and effortlessly impose context onto ambiguous stimuli, as demonstrated through psychological projective testing and ambiguous figures. This feature of human cognition may be weaponized as part of an information operation. Such Ambiguous Self-Induced Disinformation (ASID) attacks would employ the following elements: the introduction of a culturally consistent narrative, the presence of ambiguous stimuli, the motivation for hypervigilance, and a social network. ASID attacks represent a low-risk, low-investment tactic for adversaries with the potential for significant reward, making this an attractive option for information operations within the context of grey-zone conflicts.


AUTHORS

Graphic photo of Dr. Matthew Canham

Chief Executive Officer, Beyond Layer Seven,
United States
and
School of Modeling Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida,
Orlando, FL, USA

Dr. Matthew Canham is the CEO of Beyond Layer Seven, a company dedicated to understanding and addressing the human element in cybersecurity. Prior to his current role, Dr. Canham was a research professor with the behavioral cybersecurity program at the University of Central Florida. His research work focuses on human susceptibility to mis-dis-mal (MDM) information operations and remote online social engineering attacks. Dr. Canham’s research has been funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the U.S. Army Futures Command. Dr. Canham previously served as a Special Agent with the FBI, during which he investigated cybercrime, intellectual property theft, and other violations of federal law. He holds a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and he is a certified digital forensics examiner and mobile device security analyst.

 

Photo of Stefan Sütterlin

Faculty of Computer Science, Albstadt-Sigmaringen University,
Germany
and
Faculty of Health, Welfare and Organisation, Østfold University College,
Norway

Stefan Sütterlin is professor of cyberpsychology at Albstadt-Sigmaringen University (ASU) in Germany and adjunct professor at Östfold University College (OUC), Norway. He is member of the Executive Academic Board of the EU commission's European Security and Defence College. He holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Luxembourg and focuses his research currently on human factors in cyber security, political disinformation and experimental psychology.

Photo of Torvald F. Ask

Faculty of Health, Welfare and Organisation, Østfold University College,
Norway
and
Department of Information Security and Communication Technology,
Norwegian University of Science and Technology,
Gjøvik,Norway

Torvald F. Ask is a Neuroscientist with experience with molecular cell biology and psychology. His research is focused within the fields of human factors in cybersecurity, psychoneuroimmunology, and cognitive control and perception. Ask holds a MSc in Neuroscience from the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Norway. He is currently affiliated with the Faculty of Health, Welfare and Organization at Østfold University College, Norway, and the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, where he is pursuing a PhD in Information Security.

Photo of Dr. Benjamin Knox

Faculty of Health, Welfare and Organisation, Østfold University College,
Norway
and
Department of Information Security and Communication Technology,
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 
Gjøvik,Norway
and
Norwegian Armed Forces Cyber Defence,
Norway

Dr. Benjamin Knox holds a PhD in Cyber and Information Security from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Knox is a researcher for the Norwegian Armed Forces Cyber Defence and holds positions as an Adjunct Professor at the Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS), Norway, and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Health, Welfare and Organization at Østfold University College, Norway. His research interests lie in the fields of human factors in cyberspace operations, cognitive engineering, and applied cognitive performance in cyber defence.

Photo of Lauren Glenister

School of Modeling Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida,
Orlando, FL, USA

Lauren Glenister is a Research Scientist at Soar Technology Inc. and is focused on social media, cognitive psychology, and training. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Modeling and Simulation at the University of Central Florida. She has earned both a Master of Science in Software Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Human Factors Psychology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Flordia.

Photo of Dr. Ricardo Lugo

Faculty of Health, Welfare and Organisation, Østfold University College,
Norway
and
Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 
Gjøvik, Norwa
y

Dr. Ricardo Lugo is a psychologist with experience as an applied practitioner, university lecturer, and researcher. He has consulting experience with elite sports, education, and health. His current research and PhD focus is with behavioural aspects of cyber defense operations, both at the individual and team level.

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Keywords

A

AI
APT

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

D

DNS
DoD
DoS

I

IA
ICS

M

S

SOA

X

XRY

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