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The psychology of cyber criminals: An in-depth exploration


Johannesburg, 28 May 2024
Anna Collard, SVP content strategy and evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa.
Anna Collard, SVP content strategy and evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa.

Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa, delves into the intricate web of cyber crime through the lens of cyber psychology research in her upcoming talk at the ITWeb Security Summit.

The presentation aims to take the audience from the sensational headlines to the often overlooked psychological and sociological underpinnings that drive these individuals.

The stereotype of the socially inept hacker doesn't capture the full reality.

Emerging research indicates a strong correlation between cyber crime and antisocial behaviour, including traits associated with psychopathy such as narcissism and a lack of empathy. The talk will explore case studies like that of the LockBit ransomware group leader who displays narcissistic tendencies in his brazen responses to FBI interventions.


The presentation will, amongst others, consider various criminological theories such as deterrence, differential association, neutralisation, general strain and dark triad theories. It will also explore myths related to neurodiversity and cyber criminal behaviour.

Understanding the complex backgrounds of cyber criminals highlights the need for proactive measures in parenting and education and capacity building in law enforcement. By fostering healthy coping mechanisms and providing social support, young individuals can be steered away from the allure of cyber crime and towards constructive paths in cyber security.

The presentation aims to peel back the layers of cyber criminal psychology, examine real-world case studies and explore strategies to address these.

The presentation will take place at the ITWeb Security Summit, Johannesburg, on 5 June at 4:50pm.

Looking forward to seeing you there. 


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