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A normative decision-making model for cyber security

Andrew M’manga (Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Shamal Faily (Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
John McAlaney (Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Chris Williams (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, UK)
Youki Kadobayashi (Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Japan)
Daisuke Miyamoto (Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Japan)

Information and Computer Security

ISSN: 2056-4961

Article publication date: 17 June 2019

Issue publication date: 23 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate security decision-making during risk and uncertain conditions and to propose a normative model capable of tracing the decision rationale.


The proposed risk rationalisation model is grounded in literature and studies on security analysts’ activities. The model design was inspired by established awareness models including the situation awareness and observe–orient–decide–act (OODA). Model validation was conducted using cognitive walkthroughs with security analysts.


The results indicate that the model may adequately be used to elicit the rationale or provide traceability for security decision-making. The results also illustrate how the model may be applied to facilitate design for security decision makers.

Research limitations/implications

The proof of concept is based on a hypothetical risk scenario. Further studies could investigate the model’s application in actual scenarios.


The paper proposes a novel approach to tracing the rationale behind security decision-making during risk and uncertain conditions. The research also illustrates techniques for adapting decision-making models to inform system design.



The research was funded by Bournemouth University studentship DSTLX1000104780R_BOURNEMOUTH_PhD_RBDM, with the initial collaborative meeting between UK/Japan researchers facilitated by support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. The authors are also grateful to DSTL for their sponsorship of this work.


M’manga, A., Faily, S., McAlaney, J., Williams, C., Kadobayashi, Y. and Miyamoto, D. (2019), "A normative decision-making model for cyber security", Information and Computer Security, Vol. 27 No. 5, pp. 636-646.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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