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Usable security, cybersecurity, human factors, usable authentication, social engineering, inclusive cybersecurity

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Personal profile


James is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer and Information Sciences. James is interested in human-centred cybersecurity, in particular around the domains of usable authentication and social engineering.


James' recent work focuses on improving the cybersecurity awareness and behaviours of communities through embedding knowledgeable peers to encourage open discussions around security and serve as behaviour change role models. Past work has looked into improving user authentication, both by repurposing existing graphical authentication systems and by evaluating novel ones. He is also interested in user privacy and how groups of users (children, parents, older adults) experience location tracking technologies, as well as how CCTV video can be crowdsourced to de-centralise the surveillance landscape. More recently, he has developed tools and methodologies for uncovering and understanding employees’ mental models of security threats with the aim of improving training programmes and/or organisational policies, as well as practical means for improving users’ protection against these security threats (e.g. phishing).


Previously, James was a senior researcher in PaCT Lab working on the Cybersecurity Across the Lifespan (cSALSA) project. The project explores how cyber-security is understood, and the attitudes and behaviours of people to cyber-security and risk. During his time in PaCT Lab, James also worked on Choice Architecture for Information Security (ChAISe), Digital Economy Research Centre (DERC), and the Horizon 2020 project CYBECO. Prior to PaCT Lab, James worked at Open Lab, Newcastle University on the TEDDI and SiDE projects. James obtained his BSc (Information Systems) from Newcastle University in 2008, and his MRes Psychology from Northumbria University in 2009. James’ PhD work – completed in 2012 – explored user authentication in the context of older adults under the supervision of Professor Lynne Coventry and Professor Pam Briggs.

Education/Academic qualification

Education, PCAP, Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice, Northumbria University

1 Sept 201815 Dec 2019

Award Date: 2 Mar 2020

Psychology, PhD, Investigating User Authentication in the Context of Older Adults, Northumbria University

1 Sept 200931 Aug 2012

Award Date: 25 Jan 2013

Psychology, MRes, Location Tracking in Families

30 Sept 200931 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Sept 2009

Information Systems, BSc (Hons), Securing Passfaces for Description, Newcastle University

1 Aug 200530 Aug 2008

Award Date: 30 Aug 2008

External positions

Newcastle University

1 Jan 20133 Nov 2014


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