News, events and research from the cyberpsychology team in IADT.

Interview with IADT graduate Mary Aiken, Cyberpsychologist, RSCI

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Mary, you’re currently Professor and Director at the RCSI’s CyberPsychology Research Centre. Tell us a bit about your role and what a typical day looks like.

I am a CyberPsychologist and Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, I am a Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Cyber Analytics of the Asia-Pacific Institute for Resilience and Sustainability (AIRS), which is jointly anchored at Swansea University’s Network Science Research Centre and Hawaii Pacific University.

The CyberPsychology Research Centre exists to provide analysis, insight and leadership in understanding the benefits, risks and applications of current and emerging human-technology interfaces. Our vision is that our research centre will become a global leader in producing research and supporting education and intervention at the intersection of psychology and technology.

There is no such thing as a typical day – one day I am working with Europol in the Hague, the next speaking at a school conference on cyberbullying – yesterday I did at TEDx talk, tomorrow we have research planning meetings at our centre – every day is different for me.

You work with the INTERPOL specialists group on crimes against children as well. In your opinion, what are the main challenges when investigating crimes against children online, and is there anything you think we as digital forensics professionals can do to address these?

My research focuses on virtual criminal profiling and cyber behavioural analysis. I am currently leading an international research project in conjunction with INTERPOL and the London Metropolitan Police, the Australian Federal Police and the Los Angeles Police Department. The project will address child protection issues in cyberspace. NCMEC have over 130,000,000 child abuse material images on their database, effectively this is now a big data problem and those of us who work in this area, and digital forensic specialists, will need to consider leveraging machine intelligence solutions to tackle problems of this scale.

What was it that first made you interested in cybercrime as a research area?

I was always interested in psychology and forensic psychology – then I came across cyberpsychology and could immediately see the application and relevance to cybercrime – cyberpsychology is “the study of the impact of emerging technology on humans,” including the criminal population.

You’re also a producer on CSI:Cyber. How do you think public perception of cybercrime investigation has changed in recent years, and what can industry professionals do to make sure the public have a realistic view of the field?

The new show CSI:Cyber has been inspired by my discipline of cyberpsychology, and in particular my work in this area – the lead character played by Patricia Arquette is a cyberpsychologist who works for the FBI.

As a producer I am very involved in the creative process – as an academic my goal is to educate and inform regarding cyber security and safety – I think the series will give the public and industry some very interesting insights into cybercrime investigation.

There is currently a lot of discussion in the industry about trying to increase collaboration between academics, law enforcement and corporate to produce more effective results in digital forensics and cybercrime investigation. How important do you think this is, and how can we work towards it?

We need a transdiciplinary approach to the problem space – I have an academic background in psychology, forensic cyberpsychology, network science and criminology – all of these disciplines help to inform my approach. I work closely with other academics and with police forces – I am the academic advisor to the European Cyber Crime Centre at Europol – regarding certain problems. I think we need to work more on collaboration with industry, but not lose or compromise our academic integrity in the process.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the cyberpsychology of cybercrime – I recommend checking out the annex to the Europol IOCTA 2014 Threat Assessment Report (p.80 onwards).

Finally, what do you do in your spare time?

Unfortunately I don’t have any spare time just at the moment – I am writing a book on popular cyberpsychology and that’s a nice break from research or academic writing.

Mary Aiken is a cyberpsychologist at the CyberPsychology Research Centre in Dublin. The TV programme on which she is a producer, CSI:Cyber, will air on Channel 5 later this year. Mary also works closely with the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, who run a Masters’ program in cyberpsychology; more information can be found here.

Cyberpsychology on a World Stage

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27 March 2015

IADT Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology hosted a feast of cyberpsychology on Thursday 27 March 2015. The evening was opened by Dr Annie Doona President of IADT who welcomed our speaker and guests. This unique event was held to highlight and celebrate work in the relevant and expanding area of Cyberpsychology, in which IADT is a leader in the field.











Professor Mary Aiken’s keynote talk covered her work in applying cyberpsychology to the real world, including projects with the White House, Interpol and her work on the CBS television show CSI: Cyber.  Mary is Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Cyber

Analytics at the Asia-Pacific Institute for Resilience and Sustainability, Hawaii Pacific University, and Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre. She is the Academic Advisor (Psychology) to the European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) at Europol, Fellow at the IBM Network Science Research Centre, lecturer in Criminology and Research Fellow at the School of Law Middlesex University, and is a graduate of the IADT MSc in Cyberpsychology. Mary’s research focuses on cyber behavioural analysis. She is currently leading an international research project in conjunction with INTERPOL, and is recognised as an expert at national and European level in policy debates at the intersection of technology and human behaviour. She is one of the authors of the Irish Government Internet Content Governance report and in 2013 co-led a White House research team focused on “Tackling Technology Facilitated Human Trafficking.”   The new CBS primetime show CSI:Cyber is inspired by her work.

This was followed by three lightning talks by IADT MSc in Cyberpsychology graduates Kelly Price, Caroline Lang and Patrick Boylan. These talks gave an insight into where their research has led them since graduating, The evening concluded with the Head of Faculty of Film, Art and Creative Technologies Dr Andrew Power launching the IADT Cyberpsychology website which showcases the ongoing cyberpsychology work and research being undertaken by staff, students and alumni of IADT.

The talk was organised by the Department of Technology and Psychology. To find out more about our work in cyberpsychology look at, and follow us on Twitter @MScCyberpsych.


Public talk by Professor Mary Aiken, Director of the RCSI Cyberpsychology Research Centre and IADT Graduate

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Professor Mary Aiken, Director of the RCSI Cyberpsychology Research Centre and a graduate of IADT’s MSc in Cyberpsychology, will give a public lecture on “Cyberpsychology on a world stage“. The event is open to all.

This will be followed by a number of short lightning talks by alumni of the MSc in Cyberpsychology about their research and work.

At this event IADT will also launch the website showcasing the ongoing research and work being done by staff and students of IADT.

The talk will be opened by IADT President Dr Annie Doona.

All are welcome – the talk is open to the public and will be particularly interesting to anyone interested in a career in Cyberpsychology or concerned with harnessing the potential of technology for business, research or social purposes.

Date: Thursday, 26th March 2015 6.30–8pm

Venue: A019, Atrium Building, IADT, Dun Laoghaire