Arun Vishwanath, Ph.D., MBA

Department of Communication, Associate Professor

Research Focus

cyber security; hacking; cyber breaches; cyber terrorism; online deception; adoption, abuse, and misuse of information technology


I study the “people problem” of cyber security.

My research focuses on improving individual, organizational, and national resilience to cyber attacks by focusing on the weakest links in cyber security—all of us Internet users. My interest is in understanding why organizational insiders willingly exfiltrate sensitive organizational data; why people become unintentional insiders by falling prey to social engineering attacks that come-in through email and social media; and on ways we can harness this understanding to secure cyber space. I also examine how various groups–-criminal syndicates, terrorist networks, hacktivists–-utilize cyber space to commit crime, spread mis-information, recruit operatives, and radicalize others.  

My research on improving cyber resilience against online social engineering has been funded by the National Science Foundation. I have written and published over two-dozen articles on technology users and cyber security issues and my research has been presented to principals at national security and law enforcement agencies around the world. My research has also been featured on CNN, USA Today, Politico, and hundreds of other national and international news outlets. 

An overview of my research on online deception and cybersecurity can be found in some of the public-facing articles I have written on the following cybersecurity topics:

  • The threats to our critical infrastrcuture from cyber attacks [CNN (1)]
  • The threat from data exfiltration through attacks like the Sony Pictures attack [CNN (2)]
  • The problems with encryption in the FBI vs. Apple's iPhone encryption debate  [CNN (3)]
  • The rising tide of ransomware attacks [CNN (4)]
  • Why cyber attacks keep coming and are likely to do so in the near future [CNN (5)]
  • How and why app design contributes to such attacks [CNN (6)
  • How people's habits are responsible for many cyber attacks [The Coversation]; 
  • Why we need a virtual wall to protect our cyberspace and how we could build it [CNN (7)]