Decision-Making and Biases in Cybersecurity Capability Development: Evidence From a Simulation Game Experiment

18 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2019

See all articles by Mohammad Jalali

Mohammad Jalali

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; Harvard University - Harvard Medical School

Michael Siegel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Stuart Madnick

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 1, 2018

Abstract

We developed a simulation game to study the effectiveness of decision-makers in overcoming two complexities in building cybersecurity capabilities: potential delays in capability development; and uncertainties in predicting cyber incidents. Analyzing 1479 simulation runs, we compared the performances of a group of experienced professionals with those of an inexperienced control group. Experienced subjects did not understand the mechanisms of delays any better than inexperienced subjects; however, experienced subjects were better able to learn the need for proactive decision-making through an iterative process. Both groups exhibited similar errors when dealing with the uncertainty of cyber incidents. Our findings highlight the importance of training for decision-makers with a focus on systems thinking skills, and lay the groundwork for future research on uncovering mental biases about the complexities of cybersecurity.

Suggested Citation

Jalali, Mohammad and Siegel, Michael and Madnick, Stuart E., Decision-Making and Biases in Cybersecurity Capability Development: Evidence From a Simulation Game Experiment (September 1, 2018). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 5725-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3370558 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3370558

Mohammad Jalali

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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Harvard University - Harvard Medical School ( email )

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Michael Siegel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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Stuart E. Madnick (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-321
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6671 (Phone)
617-253-3321 (Fax)

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