Towards a method for examining the effects of cognitive load on the performance of cyber first responders
Proceedings of the International Conference on Security and Management (SAM)
The Steering Committee of The World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Applied Computing (WorldComp)
School of Arts and Humanities
This research was supported by the Australian Department of Defence (DSTG) [grant number MyIP:7473 CERA 237] to the first two authors.
In this study we investigated the behaviour and physiological responding of trainee cyber security workers while undertaking a Capture-the-Flag (CTF) task. Participants were equipped with armbands that recorded two measures of cognitive load, including; heat flux and galvanic skin response (GSR). Several conclusions were drawn from this exploratory project: 1. Participants’ physiological measurements exhibited idiosyncratic profiles, even when participants performed the same task; 2. Raw physiological measures failed to indicate anything clear about how participants reacted to specific events within the studies; 3. Utilising a Red-vs-Blue CTF competition enabled the development of a new way of examining the physiological data, which indicated a consistent trend amongst all participants across all physiological measures; and, 4. In the CTF competition, winning and losing participants became highly reactive to positive and negative events, respectively. Future research could consider further developing the analysis method used in the final study so that performance information could be monitored in real time, rather than post hoc. Being able to relate changes in physiological measures to objective events of different valences is highly valuable in examining the reactivity of cyber security workers and their potential vocational aptitude/suitability.