Research Fellow (EMPHASIS Ransomware project)

De Montfort University - School of Computer Science and Informatics

We are looking to recruit a Research Fellow in an interdisciplinary multi-site project on cyber-crime. The EPSRC-funded EMPHASIS project looks at ransomware: technical, psychological, societal, economical and legal aspects. You would work at the intersection of psychology and computing, under the supervision of Prof Eerke Boiten in the Cyber Technology Institute and Dr Lee Hadlington in Psychology.

Ransomware is a type of malware, and a crime of extortion committed online. Malicious software performs an action such as the encryption of the user's files, and asks a ransom for this action to be undone. The victim is coerced into paying through psychological manipulations which sometimes masquerade as advice. Due to the subtle ways that the technological aspects of the crime blend are exploited through various human dimensions, it has profound economic, psychological and societal impacts upon its victims, which makes its eradication all the more complicated. Law Enforcement Agencies have estimated that losses to criminals using ransomware are many millions of pounds, but the true costs may never be known because victims have shown to be particularly reluctant to report.

This project sets out to answer the following questions:
• Why is ransomware effective as a crime, why are many people falling victim?
• Who is carrying out ransomware attacks?
• How can police agencies be assisted?
• What interventions are required to mitigate the impacts of ransomware?

The project is a collaboration between the Universities of Kent, Leeds, Newcastle, De Montfort University, City University, law enforcement agencies, international academics and industry. It runs from 1 July 2017 until 1 July 2019.

Project website: Twitter:@EMPHASISRansom

You would have the skills and attitudes to contribute to a dynamic interdisciplinary team. Your main activity would be the gathering, systematic analysis and modelling of ransomware crime scene stories, using a wide variety of methods for data collection and data analysis, both qualitative and quantitative. You would have research experience comparable to a completed PhD, with elements of both computer science and psychology in there.

Please quote reference: 11153

Interview Date: To be confirmed

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Midlands of England