n South African Computer Journal - An Insider Threat Neutralisation Mitigation model predicated on Cognitive Dissonance (ITNMCD)

Volume 56, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



The insider threat concern is a complex issue, as the problem domain intersects the social, technical and socio-technical dimensions. Consequently, counteracting the insider threat involves in influencing the insider's perceptions and behaviour in order to ensure compliance. When an individual's actions and beliefs are incongruent, this induces a phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. In order to reduce this dissonance, individuals are self-motivated either to change their behaviours or beliefs, or to rationalize their behaviour. Neutralisation is a technique used by criminals to rationalize maleficence. In terms of the insider threat, it has been proposed that if the rationalisations for committing an offence are eliminated, then the insider is less likely to commit the offence. This process is known as neutralisation mitigation. The research reported on here proposes inducing cognitive dissonance in order to counter the resultant neutralisations that may ensue with neutralisation mitigation. To test these concepts, a pragmatic implementable solution, the Insider Threat Neutralisation Mitigation model predicated on Cognitive Dissonance (ITNMCD), is proposed. A proof-of-concept was developed and the model concept was evaluated using the design science method.

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