Learning from Authoritative Security Experiment Results

The 2017 LASER Workshop

She Blinded Me with Science: Understanding Misleading, Manipulative, and Deceptive Cybersecurity

Abstract: There are amazing benefits of good science in everyday cybersecurity, but not every claim that we see in the news or from vendors is as reputable as it should be. Every day, people considering security solutions and products are misled, manipulated, or deceived by real and bogus science, wild claims, and marketing trickery. Only one-third of Americans can “adequately explain what it means to study something scientifically.” Dykstra explores the dangers of vendor-sponsored studies, surveys, and spurious (false) correlations. Drawing on his book "Essential Cybersecurity Science," Dykstra discusses how researchers can improve communication with security practitioners and the dangers of manipulative graphics and visualizations that work through mental shortcomings and perception or because of the data they omit.

Bio: Dr. Josiah Dykstra serves as a Senior Executive Service government civilian and Subject Matter Expert for Cyber Network Operations (CNO) research in the Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences (LTS) within the Research Directorate of the National Security Agency (NSA). Under his technical direction, the research staff is conducting mission-aligned research and innovation in cyber effects, next-generation infrastructure, and big data cyber analytics for USCYBERCOM and other partners. Dr. Dykstra delivers critical thinking, applied research, and creative solutions that transform the practice of CNO. He is an active collaborator with academic, industry, and government researchers around the country. He serves as an NSA liaison to the Special Cyber Operations Research & Engineering (SCORE) Interagency Working Group, and is active in external cybersecurity organizations and initiatives.

Josiah Dykstra

Dr. Dykstra graduated from Hope College (Holland, MI) in 2002 with the Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and the Bachelor of Arts degree in music. He graduated from Iowa State University (Ames, IA) in 2004 with the Master of Science degree in information assurance, under the NSF CyberCorp Fellowship. He received the Doctor of Philosophy degree in computer science from University of Maryland Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD) in 2013.

Dr. Dykstra has received numerous noteworthy awards over the course of his NSA career, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), Galileo Award from the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Defense David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award, and NSA Research Team of the Year. Dr. Dykstra is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a Lifetime Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is the author of numerous research papers and of one book, Essential Cybersecurity Science.

Important Dates

04/18 Call for Papers
07/15 Submissions Due
09/01 Authors Notified
09/11 Registration Open
          Accepting Student Grant Apps
09/15 Program Announced
09/29 Student Grant Application Deadline
Hotel reservation deadline
09/29 Pre-workshop papers due
10/07 Early Bird Registration Closes
10/18-10/19 Workshop
11/22 Final Papers Due

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