AAAI Publications, The Thirty-Second International Flairs Conference

Font Size: 
Does Outrage Signal Cyber Attacks? Predicting "Bad Behavior" from Sentiment in Online Content
Kristy Hollingshead, Bonnie J. Dorr, Adam Dalton, Meg Barton

Last modified: 2019-05-04


We demonstrate that it is possible to leverage big data in the form of tweets and linked webpages to find expressions of sentiment that signal "bad behavior" such as cyber attacks. We hypothesize that expressions of "outrage" (high intensity, negative affect sentiment) against an organization in public data may be predictive of cyber attacks for two reasons: 1) threat actors may be motivated to launch an attack based on anger/discontent, and 2) outrage associated with an organization or industry may increase the likelihood of that organization or industry being victimized by threat actors (i.e., as a form of "vigilante justice"). We measure sentiment in online content and determine trends in public emotion and their correlation to trends in cyber attacks, as reported in Hackmageddon. We demonstrate that dimensions of sentiment, as afforded by our use of the Circumplex model of emotion, do yield correlations to reported cyber attacks, but differ dependent upon the domain of the data. Thus the use of this technique requires careful analysis for optimal application.

Full Text: PDF