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Networks and trust: systems for understanding and supporting internet security

dc.contributor.authorBoots, Bryan Charles, author
dc.contributor.authorSimske, Steve J., advisor
dc.contributor.authorAbdunabi, Ramadan, committee member
dc.contributor.authorJayasumana, Anura, committee member
dc.contributor.authorVijayasarathy, Leo, committee member
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation takes a systems-level view of the multitude of existing trust management systems to make sense of when, where and how (or, in some cases, if) each is best utilized. Trust is a belief by one person that by transacting with another person (or organization) within a specific context, a positive outcome will result. Trust serves as a heuristic that enables us to simplify the dozens decisions we make each day about whom we will transact with. In today's hyperconnected world, in which for many people a bulk of their daily transactions related to business, entertainment, news, and even critical services like healthcare take place online, we tend to rely even more on heuristics like trust to help us simplify complex decisions. Thus, trust plays a critical role in online transactions. For this reason, over the past several decades researchers have developed a plethora of trust metrics and trust management systems for use in online systems. These systems have been most frequently applied to improve recommender systems and reputation systems. They have been designed for and applied to varied online systems including peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing networks, e-commerce platforms, online social networks, messaging and communication networks, sensor networks, distributed computing networks, and others. However, comparatively little research has examined the effects on individuals, organizations or society of the presence or absence of trust in online sociotechnical systems. Using these existing trust metrics and trust management systems, we design a set of experiments to benchmark the performance of these existing systems, which rely heavily on network analysis methods. Drawing on the experiments' results, we propose a heuristic decision-making framework for selecting a trust management system for use in online systems. In this dissertation we also investigate several related but distinct aspects of trust in online sociotechnical systems. Using network/graph analysis methods, we examine how trust (or lack of trust) affects the performance of online networks in terms of security and quality of service. We explore the structure and behavior of online networks including Twitter, GitHub, and Reddit through the lens of trust. We find that higher levels of trust within a network are associated with more spread of misinformation (a form of cybersecurity threat, according to the US CISA) on Twitter. We also find that higher levels of trust in open source developer networks on GitHub are associated with more frequent incidences of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Using our experimental and empirical findings previously described, we apply the Systems Engineering Process to design and prototype a trust management tool for use on Reddit, which we dub Coni the Trust Moderating Bot. Coni is, to the best of our knowledge, the first trust management tool designed specifically for use on the Reddit platform. Through our work with Coni, we develop and present a blueprint for constructing a Reddit trust tool which not only measures trust levels, but can use these trust levels to take actions on Reddit to improve the quality of submissions within the community (a subreddit).
dc.format.mediumborn digital
dc.format.mediumdoctoral dissertations
dc.publisherColorado State University. Libraries
dc.rightsCopyright and other restrictions may apply. User is responsible for compliance with all applicable laws. For information about copyright law, please see
dc.subjectnetwork science
dc.subjectonline trust metrics
dc.subjecttrust management systems
dc.subjectonline misinformation
dc.titleNetworks and trust: systems for understanding and supporting internet security
dcterms.rights.dplaThis Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights ( You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). Engineering State University of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


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