Automated Case Assignment: Improving a Cybersecurity Case Management System’s Efficiency; Internet Banking Cyberattacks and Customer Trust

Brady, Justin, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Wayland, Kent, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Morrison, Briana, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

In recent years, cyberattacks for monetary gain have become increasingly common. Banks are big targets of these attacks due to the large amount of customer financial data they store which can be sold for quick profit. The attacks are evolving as the technologies the banks use to control and interact with their infrastructure change. As a result, banks need to understand both how and why to stop these cyberattacks cause. This goal is incredibly broad as there are many facets to both defending against cyberattacks and understanding their impacts. In service of further understanding, I researched the impacts of the attacks on customer trust in their banks. This research focused on customer trust because most previous research focused solely on the monetary impacts of cyberattacks. I also made a material contribution to banking cybersecurity by improving the efficiency of a monitoring system designed to automatically find potential threats to a bank. While this system is only a small part of the overall cybersecurity infrastructure of the bank, increasing its efficiency helps to increase the likelihood of catching an attacker before they can do any damage.
In my research I examined how cyberattacks on major U.S. banks affected the customer trust in those banks. I did this by performing a case study on 3 attacks from the last 20 years and analyzed them through a framework provided by previous research on social trust in banks. The framework found direct correlations from competence and integrity to social trust in the banks. Through my analysis, I found that regardless of a bank’s response, there was a negative effect on social trust whenever an attack occurred. However, I also found that there were mitigating factors to reduce the loss of trust by customers. Chief among these was the bank’s timeliness. This included both in terms of getting rid of the threat once it was discovered and in terms of notifying customers. Notifying customers quickly increased the bank’s image of integrity and dealing with the threat thoroughly and quickly improved the bank’s image of competence. A smaller factor, but still helpful in overall trust was providing credit monitoring to customers affected by the attack. Keeping these things in mind when dealing with attacks in the future can help banks better retain customer trust and thus their customers.
My technical project involved automating the assignment of potential threat cases to analysts in a cybersecurity monitoring system. The goal of this automation was to improve the response time of the analysts to potential threats and reduce the overhead required to move from one case to the next. This was accomplished by adding functionalities to the existing webapp for the case management system. Chief among these was analysts being able to manage their working status, so the algorithm knows who to assign cases to. Team managers also had the ability to manage who was on the teams using this algorithm and designate how many cases a person could be assigned at a time. The last piece was the algorithm itself which assigned new cases in an order set in the requirements made by the client. The project was successfully completed and fully automated case assignment. Unfortunately, it was not put into production during the time I was there, so the full extent of its impact is unknown to me.
Through my work this year, I have found that I accomplished the goals I set for my technical and STS work. My technical project resulted in a fully functioning automation of a workflow for a major US bank. My STS research gave me good insights into the specific interactions between cyberattacks and social trust in banks as well as the nuances in cyberattacks that affect social trust. I believe that both projects have a lot of space for growth in the future. The technical project can be expanded by creating a more effective algorithm and expanding its application to other case assignment workflows. The research can be expanded to be more in depth by getting interviews with actual customers affected by the cyberattacks and measuring their social trust on an individual level or wider by looking at more cases to find more factors affecting the framework. Overall, I am very proud of the work I have done in understanding and improving cybersecurity in banking.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
cybersecurity, banking, case study, computer science

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Brianna Morrison
STS Advisor: Kent Wayland
Technical Team Members: Sashidhar Gollamudi, Bebe Holloway, Davayan Sanyal

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