Cyber situation awareness as distributed socio-cognitive work

Michael Tyworth, Nicklaus A. Giacobe, Vincent Mancuso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


A key challenge for human cybersecurity operators is to develop an understanding of what is happening within, and to, their network. This understanding, or situation awareness, provides the cognitive basis for human operators to take action within their environments. Yet developing situation awareness of cyberspace (cyber-SA) is understood to be extremely difficult given the scope of the operating environment, the highly dynamic nature of the environment and the absence of physical constraints that serve to bound the cognitive task23. As a result, human cybersecurity operators are often "flying blind" regarding understanding the source, nature, and likely impact of malicious activity on their networked assets. In recent years, many scholars have dedicated their attention to finding ways to improve cyber-SA in human operators. In this paper we present our findings from our ongoing research of how cybersecurity analysts develop and maintain cyber-SA. Drawing from over twenty interviews of analysts working in the military, government, industrial, and educational domains, we find that cyber-SA to be distributed across human operators and technological artifacts operating in different functional areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCyber Sensing 2012
ISBN (Print)9780819490865
StatePublished - 2012
EventCyber Sensing 2012 - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Apr 24 2012Apr 25 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherCyber Sensing 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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