The Need for Multi-Disciplinary Approaches and Multi-Level Knowledge for Cybersecurity Professionals

The Need for Multi-Disciplinary Approaches and Multi-Level Knowledge for Cybersecurity Professionals

Eleni Berki (University of Tampere, Finland), Juri Valtanen (University of Tampere, Finland), Sunil Chaudhary (Deerwalk Institute of Technology, Nepal) and Linfeng Li (Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5297-0.ch005


Cybersecurity professionals face increased demand to acquire the knowledge and develop the skills required to keep citizens safe from cyberattacks, predict the latter with scientific methods, and advance citizens' social awareness. A proactive multidisciplinary approach against cyberattacks is effective via the combination of multidisciplinary and multi-professional knowledge. Increased public awareness with total quality multi-domain knowledge and social computing skills is likely to decrease cyberattacks' victims and improve cyber systems quality in general. This chapter 1) outlines the basic multidisciplinary research needs and multilevel strategic steps to be taken for timely citizens' protection, and 2) proposes multidisciplinary strategic research approaches and multilevel adult education directions for improving cybersystems' total quality management through collaborative research and by focusing on: a) increasing public awareness, b) predicting cyberattacks, and c) utilising multidisciplinary and multi-professional knowledge in social computing approaches.
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Every day multiple deceitful and convincing attempts with trustworthy content, known as social engineering techniques, occur through various communication and dissemination means and, most notably, through the Internet. Hence, thousands of people are convinced to reveal personal, vulnerable information such as social security ids, bank account details, home and email addresses, and the list can go on. For instance, online identity theft and (online) phishing are examples of social engineering that is often associated to cyberattacks, by obtaining and using personal information. Social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people in order to make them divulge their confidential information or perform activities which can be harmful for security and privacy (see Harley, 1998; Hadnagy, 2011; Berki et al., 2014; Heartfield & Loukas, 2015). In common terms social engineering can also be understood as hacking the human factor in cybersecurity. In fact, social engineers have socio-psychological knowledge, technical skills and they have been associated with dark creativity and deceitful information acquisition and processing. The social engineers become more and more sophisticated and they are familiar with knowledge from many scientific domains. Notably, social engineers and social engineering resembled, once, terms of positive connotations and application of interdisciplinary knowledge from socio-technical domains for societal problem solving.

Notwithstanding, deceiving citizens to reveal theirs and others’ credentials is considered unethical and raises questions related to law and order. Undoubtedly, it would be beneficial for the State, science and society to i) know and ii) be able to timely predict the frequency of social engineering activities that compromise the citizens’ confidentiality, privacy and safety. Hence, a relevant research question here could be the following:

  • Research Question: What types of multidisciplinary knowledge and skills do cybersecurity professionals need in order to i) proactively advice citizens and ii) predict the time and frequency of cyberattacks and other social engineering attempts that compromise privacy and safety?

Combining and advancing multiprofessional knowledge and social awareness can result in better and timely protection of citizens’ vulnerability and privacy. Multidisciplinary education is sometimes used interchangeably with multiprofessional education meaning occasions when professions learn side by side for whatever reason while interprofessional education occurs when students or members of two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care (Barr & Low, 2013). Such a trustworthy multilevel and multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity can encourage citizens’ active participation in society and could eventually have a long term social impact, leading to social transformation (Berki et al., 2014). It can further prove to be the most cost-effective option for the State, the citizens and the IT professionals, including all information systems stakeholders.

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