National Cyber Resilience Baselining

The APWG is working with research centers in Argentina, Australia, Ireland and the United States to deploy national base-lining surveys of user resilience to the common cybercrime of phishing - for insight into behavioral aspects of phishing and to establish data corpora for university investigators researching the behavioral/cognitive dimensions of cybercrime.

The survey protocols APWG has reviewed are robust enough to scale out to valid census-curve samples for nation states and, with that, can produce data that can be of use for a number of research enterprises from applications and UX design to public policy discussions.


APWG is promoting these national surveys to gauge user resilience to the common cybercrime of phishing - and to measure the ambient cyber resilience of countries by conducting the survey with census-curve samples of users. The test protocol being developed by Indiana University, for example, contains ten questions. The subjects fill in a short profile about their base demographics, their tech-related experience and expertise in ICT.

The subjects are shown ten websites, some of which are genuine and some of which are counterfeit. The subject has limited time to make their decision. The shorter the time span in which they make correct decisions the more bonus pay they retrieve. The testing software also records mouse movement to observe parts of the decision-making process exhibited by the subject that are important beyond the time consumed.

The survey can be deployed at scale over time for different longitudinal analyses for many kinds of applications, the first of which is to see if awareness campaigns do what their advocates hope that they do: positively influence user behavior in engagement of commonly experienced ICT-mediated threats.

APWG's longer-range plan is to get as many countries as we can to complete a valid, census-curve sampling to start that process of efficacy testing - and to inspire researchers to do different kinds of meta analyses with the resulting data.

APWG and its research correspondents have been discussing development of the survey instrument for deployment in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Portugal, Latvia, Spain, Ireland, Scotland and Switzerland.

The university that developed the protocol has agreed to release the survey software on a Github page under a Creative Commons license.

Rationale For This Survey Program Is Manifold: 

  • Examination of ICT users’ engagement of common cybercrime risks allows a more comprehensive appreciation of the nature of cybercrime
  • Scaled for broad national baselining surveys, such surveys would allow policy makers to engage the human dimensions of cybercrime – with data
  • Researchers are moving forward with such protocol designs and likely will continue as new data is produced that inspire new investigations
  • Essential decision-event data will focus investigations and inspire key questions about the event cascade that so predictably assists cyber gangs in the completion of their crimes

What Utility Do These Kinds of Metrics Offer?

  • Identifying user decision-making weaknesses
  • Upgrading user behaviors that consistently assist criminals
  • Identifying UI/UX architectures that demonstrably assist cybercriminals in development of electronic deceptions
  • Pressing cases for remediation of UI/UX architectures that are demonstrably useful to cybercriminals

APWG will serve as data curator and, as ever, muster catalyst. Toward the first imperative APWG will collect the results of the national baselining surveys and mount the depersonalized and anonymized data on its servers and offer them to qualified researchers with an interest in the behavioral dimensions of cybercrime.

Program Principals

Universidad Nacional
de La Plata

Buenos aires, argentina

La trobe univeristy
Victoria, australia