Consciousness of Cyber Defense: Boundary Objects for Expansive Learning Through Creation of Contradictions

  • Shuyuan Mary HoEmail author
  • Diogo Oliveira
  • Raghav Rathi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11589)


Cyber attackers gain access into systems, networks and cyberinfrastructure by escalating privileges to confidential information regardless of the efforts systems engineers put into security. The chess game between cyber offense and defense destabilizes the ability of organizations to protect their information assets. This research employs the lens of Activity Theory to study the interaction through the contradictions embedded between the cyber attackers and cyber defenders. These types of contradictions were forcefully created and simulated in the cyber security virtual lab at Florida State University for the purpose of facilitating real-world scenario-based learning experiences. Both network traffic data and interviews were collected in order to identify the boundary objects that intersect the two activity systems. Natural language processing (NLP) was adopted to explore and extract topics frequently used by both activity systems. Consciousness of cyber defense was expanded by creating contradictions, and boundary objects were identified by comparing the interactions between these two activity systems.


Activity theory Activity system Human-computer interaction Sociotechnical systems Boundary objects Natural language processing (NLP) Cybersecurity System penetration Cloud security 



The authors wish to thank Alison von Eberstein for the contribution on the interview questionnaire, consent form, and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol approved by Florida State University Human Subjects Committee. The authors also wish to thank Christy Chatmon for the effort on interviewing participants and data collection during Spring 2017, Vanessa Myron for the effort on transcribing interviews, and Sushmita Khan for the effort on interview data analysis during Fall 2018.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuyuan Mary Ho
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diogo Oliveira
    • 1
  • Raghav Rathi
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Communication and Information, School of InformationFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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