Arun Vishwanath, Ph.D., MBA
Dr. Vishwanath studies the “people problem” of cyber security.
His research focuses on improving individual, organizational, and national resilience to cyber attacks by focusing on the weakest links in cyber security—all of us Internet users.
His particular interest is in understanding why organizational insiders willingly exfiltrate sensitive organizational data; why people become unintentional insiders by falling prey to social engineering attacks that come-in through email and social media; and on ways we can harness this understanding to secure cyber space. He also examines how various groups–-criminal syndicates, terrorist networks, hacktivists–-utilize cyber space to commit crime, spread mis-information, recruit operatives, and radicalize others.
Dr. Vishwanath has consulted for major corporations and governments on issues ranging from cyber security to consumer protection. He was formerly the Research Director (1998-2014) at Goldhaber Research Associates (GRA), and currently serves as the President of Avant Research Group (ARG)—a strategic market research consulting firm. Through the firm, Dr. Vishwanath worked with regional and international research clients spanning education, health care, finance, marketing, public relations, market research, sports, media, and real estate development on issues concerning consumer behavior, consumer deception, consumer confusion, and market strategy. He has also worked on Lanham Act surveys and tested the likelihood of confusion/deception for both defense and plaintiff cases as well as evaluated and critiqued opposing trademark surveys and experts.
Dr. Vishwanath is presently a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University and an associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His academic experience includes a visiting assistant professorship in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington, and serving as the Director of Graduate Studies at SUNY Buffalo’s Department of Communication.
Dr. Vishwanath’s research on improving cyber resilience against online social engineering has been funded by the National Science Foundation. He has written and published over two-dozen articles on technology users and cyber security issues and my research has been presented to principals at national security and law enforcement agencies around the world. His research has also been featured on CNN, USA Today, Bloomberg Business Week, Consumer Reports and hundreds of other national and international news outlets.
An overview of his research on online deception and cybersecurity can be found in some of his recent writings and presentations on the the following cybersecurity topics:
- on how people can stay safe from ransomware [CNN]
- on what President-elect Trump must do to save the Internet [CNN]
- on how cyber breaches occur [CNN]
- on the people problem of cyber security [The Conversation]
- on the threats to our critical infrastructure from cyber attacks [CNN]
- on the threat from data exfiltration through attacks like the Sony Pictures attack [CNN]
- the problems with encryption in the FBI vs. Apple’s iPhone encryption debate [CNN]
- the rising tide of ransomware attacks [CNN]
- why cyber attacks keep coming and are likely to do so in the near future [CNN]
- how mobile app designs contribute to such attacks [CNN]
- why we need a virtual wall to protect cyber space and how we can build it [CNN]
- how people’s habits are responsible for many cyber attacks [The Conversation]
- how we must change people’s habits and build better cyber hygiene [World Economic Forum]
- on how we can blunt the phisher’s spear [Blackhat’16]
- on how “Spear-Phishing” Roiled the Presidential Campaign [Scientific American]
- on whether the new iPhone is designed for cyber safety [Newsweek]