Five Stages of Cybersecurity Awareness

By Eric Cosman

ARC Report Abstract


Standards committees and other industry groups have developed and promoted several conceptual models that describe a stepwise approach to cybersecurity for industrial control systems (ICS).  These models address the people, process, and technology elements of the cybersecurity response.

Before any of these recommendations can be implemented, managers must first understand and accept the risks they face and the potential consequences.  Without this there can be active resistance to security-related recommendations.  It is essential for industrial cybersecurity professionals to recognize this.  An understanding of human behavior can help.

The Kübler-Ross model (often referred to as “The Five Stages of Grief”), describes a progression of emotional states associated with traumatic events.  This model offers an interesting way to understand (and thus better address) these industrial cybersecurity-related challenges. 


Applying the Kübler-Ross Grief Model to Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybersecurity Awareness - The Denial Response eccyberawareness.PNGAt first glance the Kübler-Ross Grief Model may appear to have little to do with how we manage the security of automation systems.  However, there are parallels between it and acceptance of the growing threat of cybersecurity attacks or compromises of automation systems used in the critical infrastructure.  This is not surprising, since the model reflects human behavior when faced with stress.

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Keywords: Cybersecurity Awareness, Cybersecurity Response, Five Stages of Grief Model, ARC Advisory Group.


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