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Dr Lee Hadlington

Senior Lecturer In Cyberpsychology, Nottingham Trent University


“The end user is an idiot”

Exploring the role of human factors in Cybersecurity


Dr Lee Hadlington’s research concerns aspects of online safety and security across a broad variety of settings and groups. He is specifically interested in the role human factors have on employee adherence to accepted cybersecurity practices within the workplace. His research also examines the potential predictors for individuals engaging in more extreme online risk-taking behaviours that in turn could influence their susceptibility to becoming victims of cybercrime.

Dr Hadlington’s work has also explored the potential impact of digital technology on human cognition, and he has produced a textbook exploring this concept of Cybercognition. His current research projects involve the exploration of online risk taking, as well as the qualitative exploration of risk and resilience in at risk groups, including undergraduate students.

Presentation overview

It is commonplace to view individuals that fall foul of the increasing complexity of cyberattacks as being gullible and are very rarely views in favourably. However, there is an increasing body of research that explores the critical role that human factors or individual differences have on how we follow the key rules for cybersecurity.

In this session I will explore the background research that has demonstrated what are the key factors that serve to influence how much individuals adhere to accepted principles of cybersecurity. More importantly, I will try to show that just labelling someone as an ‘idiot’ when it comes to failures in cybersecurity is a sweeping generalisation, and often misses out the underlying issues linked to poor awareness, busy work environments, and an over-reliance on technical interventions.