Suelette Dreyfus

academic specialist, School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne (Australia)

Dr Suelette Dreyfus is a Lecturer in the School of Computing and Information Systems at The University of Melbourne. She did her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University (Barnard College) in New York and her Ph.D. at Monash University. She is a frequent public commentator in the media on IT-related topics. Her main research areas are: cyber security and hacking, digital privacy and anonymity, the impact of technology on integrity systems (whistleblowing) and social media as a tool for language learning in schools. She wrote Underground, the first mainstream book about computer hacking in Australia, with Julian Assange, which was subsequently made into two different films and translated into seven other languages. Rolling Stone Magazine described the work as ‘entirely original’, and the book has become a cult classic.

For her research work on the impact of digital technologies on whistleblowing, she has been invited to appear before several parliamentary committees at a state and federal level in Australia. She has co-authored several international reports and papers in this area. She works with civil society not-for-profit NGOs internationally which seek to improve the whistleblower protection structures in their society, both in law and via use of technology. She has integrated these two research areas by co-developing an experimental programme to teach journalists how to protect their whistleblower sources by improving data security and anonymity.

Her e-education research work is in the use of social media for education. She initiated an innovative cross disciplinary project using social media to teach Chinese to Australian primary school children in Australia, and English to Chinese students in China. Prior to earning her PhD and entering academia, she trained and worked as a staff journalist on a major daily newspaper in Australia. Suelette is particularly enthusiastic about encouraging and supporting women in IT.

Suelette Dreyfus will be speaking on the following topic:

Keynote International keynote address: How to fix the humans: Cyber security and human factors

You’ve built the biggest, strongest cyber security wall ever. Then your organisation’s staff unlocks the front door to welcome in the intruders. AI is touted as the magic fix for solving the weakness of human factors in the cyber security chain. But the technology is seen as immature relative to need and is perceived as taking more time and budget to implement than is worth the pay-off. Most of all, there is no ‘press a button and problem’s solved’ solution here – there is no replacement for human IT managers understanding what such systems recommend and why. Trust and transparency in AI platforms handling cyber security are essential – but will vendors provide this?

This keynote will look at what the international academic research finds about human factors in cyber security. What are they and what approaches can be used to address them? This isn’t just about understanding human behaviour, it’s also about how organisations can make their security responses fit with the humans, instead of demanding the humans fit security programmes and protocols. Some IT security experts recommend punitive measures against employees who repeatedly don’t attend to cyber security – but is it realistic to punish the busy C-suite exec? Are there better ways to win security for your organisation?

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