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One wrong click and the company is broke?

The article Learning from safety science: A way forward for studying cybersecurity incidents in organizations deals with the causes of cybersecurity incidents in organizations. Often, such incidents are attributed to isolated technical or human errors. But the authors argue that explaining such incidents in socio-technical systems is more like social constructivism: what you look for is what you find, and what you find is what you fix.

This means that the choice of perspective is critical when investigating cybersecurity incidents. While finding a technical “root cause” may lead to technical solutions, cultural factors could be blamed for the same incident from a sociological perspective, leading to improved security culture.

The article provides a framework that enables researchers and practitioners to proactively select models and methodologies for investigating cybersecurity incidents. The goal is to identify common explanations for such incidents and methods for root cause investigation in organizations.

Nico Ebert, Thierry Schaltegger and Melanie Knieps are members of the DIZH structure CYREN ZH.