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.

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 August 22, 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 August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 21, 2014) Bank of America's settlement is by far the largest amount paid by big banks facing mortgage securities probes. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. 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:
from the past week

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