Measuring and mitigating cyber vigilance decrement in network defence personnel

Author Identifiers

Oliver Guidetti


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Craig Speelman

Second Advisor

Peter Bouhlas

Third Advisor

Steven Richardson

Fourth Advisor

Craig Valli


Vigilance decrement refers to a psychophysiological decline in the capacity to sustain attention to monotonous tasks after prolonged periods. Vigilance decrement was explored in the cyber security domain across two studies. The Western Australian Cyber Defence Task (WACDT) was designed, developed and validated as a network defence sustained attention task in Study 1. The WACDT is the only cyber vigilance task presented to the literature outside of antiquated products developed by the United States Air Force. The WACDT was then used in Study 2 as an experimental platform by which to explore psychophysiological indicators of cyber vigilance decrement. A functional near infrared spectrometer was used to identify several cerebral haemodynamic features that indicate when a network defence analyst is experiencing cyber vigilance decrement. A novel theoretical account was proposed in Study 2 to explain cerebral haemodynamic features associated with vigilance decrement known as Optimal Resource Control Failure Theory (ORCFT). Studies 1 and 2 collectively illustrate the divide between hardware, software and cyber-cognitive vulnerabilities in the network defence space.

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