Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Email traffic gives clues to workplace threats

Date:
July 23, 2013
Source:
Lancaster University
Summary:
Employees carrying out an insider attack at work can be identified from the language they use in emails, according to psychologists.

Employees carrying out an insider attack at work can be identified from the language they use in emails, according to Lancaster psychologists.

Related Articles


These attacks include everything from workplace theft to fraud, hacking and sabotage, resulting in the loss of millions of pounds to companies.

The study found that an analysis of the email language of employees within an office environment managed to identify 80 to 90 per cent of those actively stealing confidential information and passing it to a provocateur.

Their analysis found that the attackers were much more self-focused, using words like "me," "my" and "I" and they used more negative language compared with typical co-workers.

They also found that employees conducting an insider attack reduced the extent to which they mimicked the language of their co-workers. This reduction in mimicry, which suggests an inadvertent social distancing by the attackers, increased over time, such that by the end of simulation, it was possible for the researchers to use the combined metrics to identify 92.6% of insiders.

Researchers led by Professor Paul Taylor at Lancaster University created a six hour workplace simulation similar to a police investigation into organised crime.

The 54 participants were divided into different teams who had to work together to gather and share information on "suspects."

One in four of the participants was asked to become an "insider" by covertly obtaining information without the knowledge of the others and passing it to a third party.

The researchers then examined the emails that participants sent to one another as part of their workplace simulation, looking for known indicators of emotion and social cohesion.

Professor Taylor said: "The act of conducting an insider attack carries with it cognitive and social challenges that may affect an offender's day-to-day work behavior. Our analysis looked for these changes in the email traffic of an organisation, and found subtle but distinctive ways in which insiders' emails differed from their co-workers."

The researchers concluded that: "Our findings demonstrate how language can provide an indirect way of identifying people who are undertaking an insider attack."

The research "Detecting insider threats through language change" appears in the journal Law and Human Behavior, published by the American Psychological Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lancaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul J. Taylor, Coral J. Dando, Thomas C. Ormerod, Linden J. Ball, Marisa C. Jenkins, Alexandra Sandham, Tarek Menacere. Detecting Insider Threats Through Language Change.. Law and Human Behavior, 2013; DOI: 10.1037/lhb0000032

Cite This Page:

Lancaster University. "Email traffic gives clues to workplace threats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723095403.htm>.
Lancaster University. (2013, July 23). Email traffic gives clues to workplace threats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723095403.htm
Lancaster University. "Email traffic gives clues to workplace threats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723095403.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gas Production Cut on Earthquake Fears

Gas Production Cut on Earthquake Fears

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) The Dutch government has cut production at Europe&apos;s largest gas field in Groningen amid concerns over earthquakes which are damaging local churches. As Amy Pollock reports the decision - largely politically-motivated - could have big economic conseqeunces. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Republicans Propose Bill That Would Kill Net Neutrality

Republicans Propose Bill That Would Kill Net Neutrality

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) The bill proposed by Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn would roll back the existing and any similar future net neutrality rules from the FCC. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obamacare's Strange New Supreme Court Case

Obamacare's Strange New Supreme Court Case

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) President Obama&apos;s healthcare law is facing its second Supreme Court challenge, and it hinges on a single sentence. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins