IARPA makes awards in 4-year effort studying hacker psychology

The program greenlit research contracts for technologies that would use psychology to thwart hackers.


February 12, 2024

The National Intelligence Director’s research arm kicked off an effort to study the psychology of cyberattackers, as part of an effort to weaponize hackers’ intellectual biases and thwart hostile intrusion attempts, the office announced last week.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity endeavor — titled Reimagining Security with Cyberpsychology-Informed Network Defenses, or ReSCIND — would “leverage attackers’ human limitations, such as innate decision-making biases and cognitive vulnerabilities, to disrupt their attacks,” ODNI said.

The program, expected to run for four years, awarded research contracts to Charles River Analytics, GrammaTech, Peraton Labs, Raytheon and SRI International. IARPA in 2022 released a request for information on cyberpsychology, pointing out that while there are theories about cognitive effects that influence cyberattackers, only a handful of these have been confirmed in the context of cybersecurity.

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