Dr Emma Williams

Dr Emma Williams

Dr Emma Williams
Lecturer in Marketing

3.22,
Howard House, Queen's Avenue, Bristol
BS8 1SD
(See a map)

emma.williams@bristol.ac.uk

Telephone Number (0117) 39 40537

School of Experimental Psychology

Cyber security: How do we encourage users to engage in secure online behaviour?

Personal profile

Dr Emma Williams (Walker)

I am a Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist, and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. I completed a BSc(hons) Psychology at the University of Bath and a PhD in the area of deception at Cardiff University in 2012. Following my PhD, I spent 3 years working within human factors and behavioural science research roles in the public and private sector before returning to academia to take up a post-doctoral position under Professor Adam Joinson (University of Bath). During this time, I conducted research focused on exploring individual differences in susceptibility to malicious forms of influence online, such as phishing emails and online scams, using a combination of laboratory-based and field-based studies in collaboration with a range of organisations. 

I was awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Fellowship at the University of Bristol in November 2017 to undertake research focused on human aspects of cyber security and cybercrime.

Broadly speaking, I am interested in how people perceive, consider and make decisions about risk in relation to emerging technologies and online activities. In particular, I am interested in how these judgments may be influenced by a range of contextual and situational factors that are often experienced in applied contexts. I am also interested in exploring how we can best communicate information about online risks to people so that they feel empowered to make informed choices.

My current research involves close collaboration with colleagues in the Bristol Cyber Security Centre and the Cryptography group within the Department of Computer Science, as well as colleagues within the School of Psychology at Cardiff University (HuFEx), the School of Management at the University of Bath, and the Department of Psychology at Central Washington University.

I am an associate of the ESRC-funded Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST; https://crestresearch.ac.uk). 

If you are interested in collaborating, please get in touch!

Research

I am a Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist, and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. I completed a BSc(hons) Psychology at the University of Bath and a PhD in the area of deception at Cardiff University in 2012. Following my PhD, I spent 3 years working within human factors and behavioural science research roles in the public and private sector before returning to academia to take up a post-doctoral position under Professor Adam Joinson (University of Bath). During this time, I conducted research focused on exploring individual differences in susceptibility to malicious forms of influence online, such as phishing emails and online scams, using a combination of laboratory-based and field-based studies in collaboration with a range of organisations. 

Broadly speaking, I am interested in understanding how individual differences in perceptions of risk interact with the particular characteristics of a situation to impact decision making in applied contexts. My current research considers this in relation to how people make decisions regarding whether to engage in secure online behaviour and involves close collaboration with the Cryptography and Information Security group within the Department of Computer Science.

Teaching

I have previously taught at the undergraduate level in the area of online collectives and online behaviour, specifically focused on the dark net, social media and social action, and prosocial outcomes of online communities.

I am also keen to engage the public with my research, and have previously been involved in a number of public engagement activities, incuding:

- Science Showoff, University of Bath (2017).

- University of Bath Images of Research (2016).

- Know How: To avoid email fraudsters, fakes and scams. Public lecture at The Edge, University of Bath (2016).

- Invited Interviews on BBC Inside Out South (30th Oct 2016) and on ITV West (January 2018), BBC Points West (April 2016), BBC Radio Somerset, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Kent, Talk Radio, Heart Radio, and The Breeze regarding my research into the psychological techniques used in online and offline scams. 

 

 

Fields of interest

cybersecurity; risk perceptions; cognitive psychology; social psychology; online behaviour; cyber crime; phishing




Latest publications

  1. Williams, EJ & Polage, D, 2019, ‘How persuasive is phishing email? The role of authentic design, influence and current events in email judgements’. Behaviour and Information Technology, vol 38., pp. 184-197
  2. Williams, EJ & Blackwell, E, 2019, ‘Managing the risk of aggressive dog behaviour: Investigating the influence of owner threat and efficacy perceptions’. Risk Analysis.
  3. Williams, EJ, 2019, ‘Oral evidence submitted to UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee MyScience Inquiry: House of Commons Report’.
  4. Linden, Dvd, Williams, E, Hadar, I & Zamansky, A, 2019, ‘"Some might freak out" – What if your dog’s activity tracker were to have a data breach?’. in: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  5. Williams, EJ, Hinds, J & Joinson, A, 2018, ‘Exploring susceptibility to phishing in the workplace’. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, vol 120., pp. 1-13
  6. Morgan, P, Williams, EJ, Zook, N & Christopher, G, 2018, ‘Exploring Older Adult Susceptibility to Fraudulent Computer Pop-Up Interruptions’. in: Tareq Z Ahram, Denise Nicholson (eds) Advances in Human Factors in Cybersecurity: Proceedings of the AHFE 2018 International Conference on Human Factors in Cybersecurity, July 21-25, 2018, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, USA. Springer, Cham, pp. 56-68
  7. Williams, EJ, Noyes, J & Warinschi, B, 2018, ‘How Do We Ensure Users Engage In Secure Online Behavior? A Psychological Perspective’.
  8. Williams, EJ, 2018, ‘Human aspects of cyber security: Understanding what makes people behave (in)securely online’.
  9. Joinson, A, Williams, EJ & Levordashka, A, 2018, ‘PHISHTRAY: A modifiable, open-source email sorting task for research and training applications’.
  10. Polage, D & Williams, EJ, 2018, ‘Phishing Expeditions: The Role of Authenticity, Influence and Current Events in Phishing Email Judgments’.
  11. Williams, EJ, 2018, ‘Understanding the impact of context in cyber decisions: Exploring the role of situational characteristics on perceptions and behaviour: Human Dimensions in Cyber Security Symposium Session’.
  12. Linden, Dvd, Rashid, A, Williams, EJ & Warinschi, B, 2018, ‘Safe cryptography for all: towards visual metaphor driven cryptography building blocks’. in: 2018 IEEE/ACM 1st International Workshop on Security Awareness from Design to Deployment (SEAD 2018): Proceedings of a meeting held 27 May - 3 June 2018, Gothenburg, Sweden.. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), pp. 41-44
  13. Williams, EJ, Beardmore, A & Joinson, A, 2017, ‘Individual differences in susceptibility to online influence: A theoretical review’. Computers in Human Behavior, vol 72., pp. 412-421
  14. Williams, EJ, Morgan, P & Joinson, A, 2017, ‘Press accept to update now: Individual differences in susceptibility to malevolent interruptions’. Decision Support Systems, vol 96., pp. 119-129
  15. Williams, EJ & Ashenden, D, 2017, ‘Phishing scams are becoming ever more sophisticated... and firms are struggling to keep up’. The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited
  16. Morgan, P, Williams, EJ & Lawrence, J, 2017, ‘Cyber-interruptions: Susceptibility to malevolent online influence communications masquerading as genuine computer updates’.
  17. Bott, L & Williams, EJ, 2017, ‘The psycholinguistics of lying and deceit’. in: Oxford Handbook of Lying.
  18. Williams, EJ & Joinson, A, 2017, ‘Understanding employee susceptibility to phishing: A systematic approach to phishing simulations’.
  19. Williams, EJ, 2016, ‘Why do we fall for scams?’. The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited
  20. Williams, EJ & Joinson, A, 2016, ‘Fusing system design and social science to reduce susceptibility to influence’.
  21. Williams, EJ & Joinson, A, 2016, ‘Eliciting information online’. Lancaster University
  22. Williams, EJ, Bott, L, Patrick, J & Lewis, M, 2013, ‘Telling lies: The irrepressible truth?’. PLoS ONE, vol 8.

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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