Kylie Watson
[IBM]
Kylie is a unique blend of Sociologist and Technologist. 

She leads a team of cyber security consultants nationally at IBM and is the Chair of the recently established National Institute for Strategic Resilience. Kylie has a particular interest in the psychology of cyber security and the impact that cyber attacks have on foreign policy and relations, as well as the social, political and economic fabric of society (whether victims are individuals, cohorts or organisations).

Her interests lie both in technical and society vulnerabilities and how these intersect. Terrorism, cold war, natural disasters, and pandemics have rendered socio technical systems extremely vulnerable over the last decade. The psychology of strategic resilience in the face of such turmoil, strained relations, local impacts and national interests is an area of exploration including how Australia can leverage its people and culture to decrease its vulnerabilities and improve its resilience.

Prior to her current position Kylie was a Partner at Deloitte leading teams in data analytics and cyber where she built a social license to automate tool helping clients to understand the key social, organisational and governance sides of successful and ethical automations.

Kylie is a sought after media commentator on cyber security and the future of work and has published papers on topics including predictive analytics and digital nudge theory. She has degrees in IT cyber security, data, sociology and humanities, as well as teaching, behavioural science and management qualifications.

How resilient are we? Understanding the psychology of cyber conflict and its impacts (state & personal)

There is a growing need to prevent and mitigate the impact of cybersecurity incidents orchestrated by groups or nation states. The Australian Cyber Security Centre's Annual Cyber Threat report highlights that malicious cyber activity against Australia's national and economic interests is increasing in frequency, scale and sophistication.

Overreaction and conflict escalation to this needs to be avoided but this is difficult in the face of human cognition being much more concept driven than data driven. There are a number of cognitive bias that are particularly activated when working in the realm of mistrust and worst case thinking especially in international politics and with a sovereign approach.

War, espionage and crime which used to be clear observable actions are now almost impossible to discern and untangle in the cyber space. In order to build resilience this chaotic landscape needs to be recognised and the psychological intent of the disruptions needs to be better understood.

Kylie will use real life examples of incidents throughout the last few years including 2020 to highlight what psychological tactics are being used and to help understand the impacts on humans both from a defensive perspective and of victims. Resilience can be achieved if we understand what the cyber psychology intent is, and how to mentally and emotionally cope with each crisis/attack and adapt to ensure we emerge stronger and on the front foot in our journey to protect Australian interests and be a good international citizen.

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