Cybersecurity algorithms, techniques being developed through anthropology methods

This article is a repost from Newswise and is written by Kansas State University’s Greg Tammen.

Experts in anthropology and cybersecurity at Kansas State University are examining the unspoken knowledge shared by cybersecurity analysts as a way to develop new automated tools that help analysts strengthen their cyberdefenses.

Xinming “Simon” Ou, associate professor of computing and information sciences, and Mike Wesch, associate professor of anthropology, recently received nearly $700,000 from the National Science Foundation to fund a three-year project that takes an anthropological approach to cybersecurity. Data will be used to develop algorithms for improved cybersecurity.

Ou and Wesch, along with Sathya Chandran Sundaramurthy, India, and Yuping Li, China — both doctoral students in computing and information sciences — are working alongside analysts in the university’s office of information security and compliance. The researchers are using anthropological techniques to understand how analysts perform their job duties. These techniques help them learn tacit knowledge rather than traditional formal knowledge about the job duties and manpower requirements for security operations centers.

“Tacit knowledge is the knowledge that we have about something that we can’t verbalize,” Wesch said. “You cannot walk into a New Guinea village and just ask people what their culture is. You have to live it and experience it to understand it.”

Researchers will translate this tacit knowledge into algorithms that will speed up various tasks and job duties performed by the analysts. For example, it takes a professional analyst between five and six minutes to find the Internet Protocol address and physical location of a computer that has been compromised by viruses and malware. An algorithm could complete the process in five to six seconds.

“We’d like to automate the boring, repetitive part of the tasks that aren’t heavily reliant on human intelligence but are more about humans doing them because they do not have better tool support,” Ou said. “That would free analysts to concentrate on the more complex tasks, such as investigating more large-scale, sophisticated attacks and plugging potential security holes in a network.”

The lack of understanding of the tacit knowledge in cybersecurity may be why so few commercial and open-source support tools are available to help cybersecurity analysts understand an attack in detail, Ou said. Often the tool developers do not understand the job and time requirement of security analysis, which limits the ability for them to design useful algorithms for these tools. As a result, finding information such as how the attacker got into the system and what data was compromised and damaged is a very labor-intensive process.

“A network is bombarded with attacks all of the time, and many of those attacks themselves are automated,” Wesch said. “We’re trying to automate parts of the defense.”

In addition to streamlining the repetitive tasks, researchers said their findings about what is needed for comprehensive cybersecurity analysis in this unique collaboration will lead to better training and education for the field.

“We’re ultimately building something like a conceptual model of how cybersecurity actually works, not just how it should work from a researcher’s perspective,” Wesch said.

Anthropology and anthropological teaching in Kerala

Guest post by Dr. S. Gregory

The year 2012-13 marked a milestone in the History of Anthropology in Kerala for multiple reasons. Among many things, it marked the 25 years of PG teaching in Anthropology in Kerala and the Department of Anthropology had the unique privilege of organizing the Indian Anthropological Congress, the 10th Congress of the Indian National Confederation and Academy of Anthropologists (INCAA). The INCAA Congress, which was held as a full Congress once in three years and inter-Congresses in between, would henceforth be holding its full Congress every year under the name ‘Indian Anthropological Congress’, for which Kannur sets its beginning. The 2013 Congress held between 14 and 16 February 2013 aimed at taking a fresh look at the anthropological identities and approaches in the context of the emerging challenges and examines its potentiality for the future of the humankind. Hence, the focal Theme of the IAC 2013 was ‘Anthropology and the Future of Humankind. The theme of the Congress was chosen in the context of the dilemma Anthropology confronts between its professional commitment and the tendency to compromise its autonomy in order to erase out its anti-establishment stance, and hence of the urgency to examine the role of Anthropology vis-à-vis the future of humankind. The Congress attracted senior and young Anthropologists, from all over India, from the North, North East, East, West and South, with a total of about 250 participants, more than two third of them being from outside Kerala.

The inaugural function was presided over by the National President of INCAA, Prof. R.K. Mutatkar. Prof. A.P. Kuttikrishnan, the then Pro-Vice Chancellor of Kannur University inaugurated the Congress. Prof Gregory welcomed the gathering and provided a glimpse of the decade evolution of the Congress. Prof. PRG Mathur, the senior-most Anthropologist in Kerala, and Prof. B. Ananda Bhanu, the former Head of the Department of Anthropology were felicitated on the occasion by the President of INCAA, Prof. Mutatkar. This was followed by Prof. B.M. Das Memorial Oration by Prof D.K. Bhattacharya, from Delhi University, and was presided by Prof I.J.S. Bansal. The INCAA publications were released on the occasion. The academic exercise of the Congress started with the Round Table, which was moderated by Prof A.K. Danda, the Member-Secretary of INCAA. Fourteen eminent Anthropologists from all over India made deliberations on the conference theme: Anthropology and the Future of Humankind. It brought out a few significant concerns related to the academic and social situation which demands some methodological and analytical changes within anthropology as a discipline.

The second day of the Congress started with the Plenary Session. There were two speakers in the plenary session. Prof B.V. Sharma from Hyderabad Central University deliberated on ‘Culture and Development’ while Dr. Kannan P. Nambiar from George Washington University, Washington DC talked on the ‘Feminization of Migration and Human Rights’. This was followed by the S.C. Dube memorial lecture by Prof. Parasuram, Director of TISS, Mumbai and was presided by Prof Yogesh Atal. Prof Parasuram also released the Silver Jubilee Souvenir of the Department on the occasion, which provides a comprehensive picture about the Department and its overall profile.

The Scientific Sessions, which followed the SC Dube Memorial Lecture, involved six symposiums on varied themes, ranging from Ethnic Identity to sustainable Development, Health and Disease, Human Genetics, Growth and Developoment, Multiculturalism and Anthropological Identities and Approaches, and were held parallel in six different venues, each with three Technical Sessions. More than 80 papers had been deliberated in these sessions, followed by academic discussions. The Poster Session of the Congress had papers across all the themes of the Symposium. The cultural banquet offered by professional artists and by our own students, giving a few glimpses of Kerala Culture, enthralled the participants to its peak.

The third day started with a Special Interactive Session on Tribal Development, with the participation of the tribal activist, from Kerala Ms. C.K. Janu and moderated by Dr J.J. Pallath. The interaction was made lively and truly enriching and enlightening with the participation of Dr Jakka Parthasarathy, the former Director of the Tribal Research Center, Dr Francis Kulirani, the former Deputy Director of the Anthropological Survey of India and Shri Mohankumar, the former Director of KIRTADS. This was followed by the valedictory function which was presided over by the senior anthropologist, Dr. PRG Mathur. The Valedictory address was delivered by Prof Hussain Khan of Karnataka University. The winners of the Quiz program, conducted for the higher Secondary Anthropology students, which was one of the pre-Congress exercise, were honored with cash awards and memento.

The participants expressed a deep sense of appreciation for an excellent organization and arrangement as well as academic deliberations during the Congress. The Congress, organized under the aegis of INCAA, was made possible with the financial support from IGRMS, ICSSR, KIRTADS, Praxis India and from the University. The INCAA Kerala Chapter and the Faculty and students from the department had been the backbone in making the Congress a grand success. The extensive coverage given by the Press was unprecedented and provided the necessary boost to take Anthropology in Kerala to new heights. It had also provided an opportunity for the young anthropologists to get exposed to the wider canvas of Indian Anthropology.

II

Though the roots of anthropology in India could be traced back to the early phase of the colonial era, Anthropology as an Academic discipline had its beginning in India, only in 1920, with the starting of the Department of Anthropology at Calcutta University, with L.K. Ananthakrishna Iyer from Kerala as one of the founding fathers of the Department. The 22nd Indian Science Congress held at Calcutta in 1935, under the Presidency of Dr J.H. Hutton, with the theme Anthropology and India, and the establishment of Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) in 1945, carving it out from the Zoological Survey of India are worth mentioning here.

In Kerala, the ethnological tradition of L.K. Ananthakrishna Iyer was continued by his son L.A. Krishna Iyer, and carried forward further by his grandson L.K Balaratnam, the living continuity of this trio. Yet another doyen of Anthropology was Prof. A. Aiyappan, former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University. The line of Anthropological stalwarts in Kerala would be incomplete without the name of Prof. PRG Mathur. The Tribal Research and Training Institute (TR&TI) established in 1970 with Professor A. Aiyappan as its Founding Special Officer, later became a separate Department of the Government of Kerala and renamed as Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (KIRTADS) in 1979, under the Directorship of Professor PRG Mathur, to conduct research on socioeconomic status of tribes, and impart training to officials posted in tribal areas about the tribal culture. KIRTADS became a center for Anthropological doctoral Research as well at a time when there was no Anthropology Department in any of the Universities in Kerala. Prof. Mathur had also been instrumental in the establishment of the Ananthakrishna Iyer International Centre for Anthropological Studies (AICAS) in 1979, at Palakkad, with the main objective of promoting anthropological research in South India.

Continue reading “Anthropology and anthropological teaching in Kerala”

Cultural anthropology methods: Summer short courses in the U.S.

1. Now in its tenth year, the SCRM (Short Courses on Research Methods) program is for cultural anthropologists who already have the Ph.D. Two, five-day courses are offered during summer 2014 at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Statistics in Ethnographic Research (Instructors: Daniel Hruschka and David Nolin) July 28-August 1, 2014

Cultural Domain Analysis (Instructors: H. Russell Bernard and Rosalyn Negron) July 21-July 25, 2014

Apply HERE. Deadline March 1, 2014.

2. Now in its 19th year, the SIRD (Summer Institute on Research Design) is an intensive, three-week course for graduate students in cultural anthropology who are preparing their doctoral research proposals. The 2014 course runs from July 14-August 1, 2014 at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. Instructors: Jeffrey Johnson, Susan Weller, Amber Wutich, and H. Russell Bernard.

Apply HERE. Deadline March 1, 2014.

3. Now in its sixth year, the SIMA (Smithsonian Institution Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology) is open to graduate students in cultural anthropology and related, interdisciplinary programs (Indigenous Studies, Folklore, etc.) who are interested in using museum collections as a data source and who are preparing for research careers. The course runs from June 2-July 18, 2014. Instructors: Candace Greene, Mary Jo Arnoldi, Joshua Bell, and Gwyneira Isaac, plus visiting lecturers Jason Jackson and Marit Munson.

Apply HERE. Deadline March 1, 2014.

5. Now in its tenth year, the WRMA (Workshops in Research Methods in Anthropology) program offers one-day workshops in conjunction with the national meetings of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology.

6. Now in its third year, the DCRM (Distance Courses in Research Methods in Anthropology) is open to upper division undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals. Five courses are offered in summer 2014: Text Analysis, Geospatial Analysis, Network Analysis, Video Analysis, and Methods of Behavioral Observation. The development of these fee-based courses is supported by the National Science Foundation. Enrollment is limited to 20 participants.

Washington, D.C. event: The Unexpected Rewards of a Career in Museum Anthropology

Speaker: Jake Homiak, Smithsonian Institution

When: Tuesday, November 5th, 2013,  7:00 pm

Where: Sumner School, Rotating Gallery G-4

Pre-meeting get-together, 5:30 pm Beacon Bar and Grill. Registration is helpful, but not required.

In the late 19th century anthropology was largely a museum-focused discipline shaped by scholars concerned with collecting the artifacts and documenting the rituals, languages, and the expressive forms of Native cultures expected to soon disappear. A century later — with the decolonization of anthropology and pressure to collaborate with ‘traditional’ communities — concepts such as cultural equity, cultural property, and indigenous knowledge have shifted understandings about curatorial authority and repositioned debates about the meanings of ethnographic and archival collections.

Today, the manner in which museums curators document, care for, provide access to, broker and exhibit ethnographic artifacts and materials are projects profoundly shaped by ongoing relations with source communities whose materials they hold. Jake Homiak, the Director of the Anthropology Collections & Archives Program at the Smithsonian, will discuss these issues in relation to his own career variously as a collection manager, an ‘accidental archivist’, and anthropologist whose museum work frequently brings him into contact with the members of Native communities. He also reflects on how these same concerns have shaped his own long-term ethnographic work in the Caribbean with Rastafari communities.

Presenter bio:

Jake Homiak is the Director of the Anthropology Collections & Archives Program in the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History. He is now currently responsible for all anthropology collections and archival holdings at the Smithsonian Museum Support Center including the care, preservation, and researcher access to collections.

More information: The Unexpected Rewards of a Career in Museum Anthropology

Sponsored by the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists

Anthro in the news 10/28/13

A sex counselor in Japan with one of her clients. Photograph: Eric Rechsteiner/Panos Picture, in the The Guardian

• No sex please, for young Japanese

An article in The Guardian describes changing patterns of sex, love, and marriage, or none of the above in urban Japan. The article quotes cultural anthropologist Tomomi Yamaguchi, a Japanese-born assistant professor of anthropology at Montana State University as saying: “Remaining single was once the ultimate personal failure…But more people are finding they prefer it.” Being single by choice is becoming, she believes, “a new reality” in urban Japan. The current flight from marriage may signal a longer term rejection of earlier Japanese norms and gender roles.

• Alan Greenspan may take Social Anthropology 101

In an interview with Alan Greenspan, Financial Times writer Gillian Tett was surprised when Greenspan expressed interest in social anthropology and asked Tett for suggested readings. In shock, Tett comments that Greenspan no longer thinks that classic orthodox economics and mathematical models can explain everything. [Blogger’s note: I am dying to know which readings Tett suggested to Greenspan! David Graeber’s book Debt would be at the top of my list for Greenspan].

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

It’s a big  job

The Boston Globe carried an article about Jim Yong Kim’s attempts to overhaul the World Bank. Kim was in Boston Thursday to accept an award from the Harvard School of Public Health. A physician by profession and cofounder of Partners in Health with Paul Farmer and others, Kim is also a medical anthropologist. Although a proponent of the World Bank’s renewed commitment to supporting large hydroelectric dam projects, Kim at the same time expresses concern for the poor:  “What we’ve seen all over the world is that if you don’t pay attention to that bottom 40 percent, you can have fundamental instability in your society…Even in countries that have made so many gains in lifting people out of poverty, the bottom 40 percent were still saying, ‘But wait a minute, we want more.’ ” [Blogger’s note: Studies of large dam construction projects consistently show that they displace thousands, even millions, of people and thus increase the number of people in the “bottom 40 percent.”]

Tanya Luhrmann dumbing down religion?

In an article in The New Republic, Leon Wieseltier its literary editor, argues that, in her recent series of op-eds in The New York Times, Tanya Luhrmann expresses positive views of evangelicism (which he says she “adores”) and is “peddling another intellectual argument for anti-intellectualism, another glorification of emotion in a culture enslaved to emotion.”

What’s in a name: Asylum seeker is preferable

Australia’s The Age published a critique of recent official Australian statements about categories of immigrants, particularly a new delineation between asylum seekers and illegal maritime arrivals: “The conjoining of ‘asylum’ and ‘seeker’ is evocative. Who seeks asylum? A human in danger, distress and despair; someone who is hoping to survive on the lee shore of kindness.”

In contrast, the phrase “illegal maritime arrivals” contains no sense of humanity. Jonathan Rosa, assistant professor of linguistic anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, says such phrasing “is more about signalling one’s political affiliation than about trying to describe immigration.”

• Post-multicultural ethnic branding in Canada

An article in The Vancouver Sun notes that one in five Canadians are immigrants and nearly as many are second-generation citizens. So, it would seem that ethnic marketing would be on the rise. Instead, there seems to be growing emphasis on a “post-multicultural” nation.

Design anthropologist Ujwal Arkalgud says brands would do well to leverage Canadiana with high profile examples including Molson Canadian beer, Tim Hortons coffee, Hudson’s Bay department stores, and Roots apparel, all of which have effectively used national identity to sell products.

“Looking at audiences based on their ethnicity is a brutal, brutal practice,” said Arkalgud, director of strategy at Sonic Boom, a strategic marketing communications firm in Toronto. “It makes the assumption that just because somebody has immigrated, or has a certain background, they think a certain way; the reality is that our behaviours are guided by who we are and our own beliefs and values.”

Continue reading “Anthro in the news 10/28/13”

DC event: Social Media Workshop for Social Empowerment

The Washington Association for Professional Anthropologists presents a discussion of how to use technology to create social networks that promote community education and empowerment.

Speakers: Shanyn Ronis and Kayla Sousa

When: 17 October 17, 2013, 7:00 pm

Where: Sumner School, Rotating Gallery G-4; corner of 17th St and M St NW, Washington, DC

Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting events, expanding the public profile of organizations and causes, and raising funds. This presentation will provide an overview of how to devise a cohesive, successful social media strategy across various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, E-mail campaigns, Linked-in, Crowd-Sourcing Platforms, and organizational websites. It will explore how this strategy should be used to enhance fundraising efforts and create lasting relationships with donors.

Shanyn Ronis is a sociocultural anthropologist trained at the George Washington University and the University of Chicago. She has worked for the past five years in domestic politics, managing campaigns in Virginia and working on the independent expenditure committees for Colorado State House races. She has also worked throughout Latin America and Western Europe. In 2013, she founded the Education Global Access Program (E-GAP) in order to create a development strategy that relies heavily on anthropological methods of ethnographic assessment and grassroots community empowerment, and that works with local forms of knowledge. E-GAP was established through a partnership of anthropologists, teachers, IT professionals, and globally-minded volunteers. It currently has projects in Peru, Guatemala, and India.

More information and to RSVP: WAPA Presents: Social Media and Fundraising Workshop

Call for: Panel and paper proposals, conference on anthropology and photography

The Royal Anthropological Institute is pleased to announce that a conference, Anthropology and Photography, will take place at the British Museum, Clore Centre, in conjunction with the museum’s Anthropology Library and Research Centre. The aim of the Conference is to stimulate an international discussion on the place, role and future of photography. Panel proposals are therefore welcome from any branch of anthropology.

We welcome contributions from researchers and practitioners working in museums, academia, media, the arts and anyone who is engaged with historical or contemporary production and use of images.

Panels can draw upon (but are not limited to) the following themes:

The use of photography across anthropological disciplines

The changing place of photography in museums and exhibitions

Photography and globalisation

Photography, film and fine art

Revisiting and re-contextualising archival images

Photography and public engagement

Ethics, copyright, access and distribution of images

Technological innovation and its impact

Regional photography practices

Visual method and photo theory

The call for panels opens on 1 August 2013 and closes on 31 October 2013.

The call for papers opens on 27 November 2013 and closes on 8 January 2014.