CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


College of Engineering and Computing


Yair Levy

Committee Member

Shonda Brown

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus


Cyber insider threat is one of the most difficult risks to mitigate in organizations. However, innovative validated visualizations for cyber analysts to better decipher and react to detected anomalies has not been reported in literature or in industry. Attacks caused by malicious insiders can cause millions of dollars in losses to an organization. Though there have been advances in Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSs) over the last three decades, traditional IDSs do not specialize in anomaly identification caused by insiders. There is also a profuse amount of data being presented to cyber analysts when deciphering big data and reacting to data breach incidents using complex information systems.

Information visualization is pertinent to the identification and mitigation of malicious cyber insider threats. The main goal of this study was to develop and validate, using Subject Matter Experts (SME), an executive insider threat dashboard visualization prototype. Using the developed prototype, an experimental study was conducted, which aimed to assess the perceived effectiveness in enhancing the analysts’ interface when complex data correlations are presented to mitigate malicious insiders cyber threats. Dashboard-based visualization techniques could be used to give full visibility of network progress and problems in real-time, especially within complex and stressful environments. For instance, in an Emergency Room (ER), there are four main vital signs used for urgent patient triage. Cybersecurity vital signs can give cyber analysts clear focal points during high severity issues. Pilots must expeditiously reference the Heads Up Display (HUD), which presents only key indicators to make critical decisions during unwarranted deviations or an immediate threat.

Current dashboard-based visualization techniques have yet to be fully validated within the field of cybersecurity. This study developed a visualization prototype based on SME input utilizing the Delphi method. SMEs validated the perceived effectiveness of several different types of the developed visualization dashboard. Quantitative analysis of SME’s perceived effectiveness via self-reported value and satisfaction data as well as qualitative analysis of feedback provided during the experiments using the prototype developed were performed.

This study identified critical cyber visualization variables and identified visualization techniques. The identifications were then used to develop QUICK.v™ a prototype to be used when mitigating potentially malicious cyber insider threats. The perceived effectiveness of QUICK.v™ was then validated. Insights from this study can aid organizations in enhancing cybersecurity dashboard visualizations by depicting only critical cybersecurity vital signs.

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