D’Amico, A., Whitley, K., Tesone, D., O’Brien, B., and Roth, E. “Achieving cyber defense situational awareness: A cognitive task analysis of information assurance analysts,” Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 49th Annual Meeting, 2005, 229-233.
A Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) was performed to investigate the workflow, decision processes, and cognitive demands of information assurance (IA) analysts responsible for defending against attacks on critical computer networks. We interviewed and observed 41 IA analysts responsible for various aspects of cyber defense in seven organizations within the US Department of Defense (DOD) and industry. Results are presented as workflows of the analytical process and as attribute tables including analyst goals, decisions, required knowledge, and obstacles to successful performance. We discuss how IA analysts progress through three stages of situational awareness and how visual representations are likely to facilitate cyber defense situational awareness.
The research described was sponsored by the US Department of Defense and the Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) under contract #F30602-03-C-0260, with the Air Force Research Laboratory as the contracting agency.