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 November 25, 2014 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 November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. Video provided by Newsy
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