An Insider Threat Neutralization Mitigation Model Predicated On Cognitive Dissonance (ITNMCD)


  • Keshnee Padayachee



Cognitive Dissonance, Neutralization Theory, Situational Crime Prevention Theory, Neutralization Techniques


The insider threat concern is a complex issue, as the problem domain intersects the social, technical and socio-technical dimensions. Consequently, counteracting the insider threat involves influencing the insider’s perceptions and behaviour in order to ensure compliance. When an individual’s actions and beliefs are incongruent, this induces a phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. In order to reduce this dissonance, individuals are self-motivated either to change their behaviours or beliefs, or to rationalize their behaviour. Neutralization is a technique used by criminals to rationalize maleficence. In terms of the insider threat, it has been proposed that if the justifications for committing an offence are eliminated, then the insider is less likely to commit the offence. This process is known as neutralization mitigation. The research reported on here proposes that inducing cognitive dissonance may be a means of mitigating the neutralizations that the insider may use to justify maleficence. To integrate these concepts into a pragmatic implementable solution the Insider Threat Neutralization Mitigation model predicated on Cognitive Dissonance (ITNMCD) is proposed. A proof-of-concept was developed and the model concept was evaluated using the design science method.






Research Papers (general)