Protecting Cybersecurity

Protecting the Bazaar: The Ecology of Cybersecurity in Weakly Fortified Networks

While policy interest and empirical reseBazaararch on cyber-attacks have both increased substantially in recent years, very little of this attention has been focused on the local ecology of actively operating computer systems and virtually no research has involved active collaboration between computer security experts and social and behavioral scientists. An ecological perspective provides an ideal framework for conceptualizing an interdisciplinary problem like cybercrime because it begins with the assumption that security solutions may be affected by the interconnected behavior of users, offenders and IT managers operating within computer environments. Here, we contrast computer fortresses—those having controlled access and sometimes elaborate security systems—with computer bazaars—weakly fortified systems where a wide variety of users engage in a range of activities with minimal security in largely unregulated settings. Focusing on a bazaar computing environment, the proposed research represents a collaboration between criminologists, psychologists, and computer security experts that evaluates criminological theories within cyberspace using, in addition to survey data and experimental design, detailed network and target computer data drawn from the real time operation of an organization network. The overarching goal of this research is to study the ecology of cyber security in a bazaar computing environment and to derive from the study human-based security solutions. A major strength of this proposal is the unique support we have from the Information Technology office of a major research university computing system. This program of research is supported by the National Science Foundation (David Maimon, PI at University of Maryland). (2012-2015)


GSU PI and Point of Contact: Tony Lemieux (

PI: David Maimon, University of Maryland