Business Researchers Receive $650,000 DHS Grant

cyberNicole Beebe, Ph.D. ’07, director of the Center for Education and Research in Information and Infrastructure Security in the UTSA College of Business, and Daijin Ko, professor of management science and statistics, received a $649,172 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to strengthen insider threat detection.

“The ability to detect threats within an organization and to keep sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands has become vital to national security,” said Beebe, the Melvin Lachman Distinguished Professor.

research_rankingsBeebe and Ko will build an insider threat detection system to prepare for real-world situations wherein a disgruntled employee or even a corporate spy could abscond with valuable information. However, they’re not interested in finding the culprit after an attack has already occurred.

“The goal is to be able to detect an insider threat before that person commits their crimes,” Ko said. “Traditionally, you can look for a change in behavior. For example, this person will start storing up large sums of data on their computer.”

Paul Rivera, president and CEO of Def-Logix, will help the pair develop a software system that can quickly analyze vast amounts of data and identify a threat based on computer usage.

“We’ll search for an abnormal pattern,” said Ko. “Essentially, we’re watching for an outlier based on how long they’re using the computer, when they are using it and how they are using it, among other variables.”

The researchers hope that the new technology will not just prevent corporate espionage, but also make it possible to detect breaches, like the ones committed by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, before they occur.

“This could have a widespread beneficial impact for so many different organizations, public and private,” Beebe said. “These recent leaks have proved that we need to rise to this new challenge, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Marketing Professors Study the Video Game Industry

game_industryResearch by Suman Basuroy, Graham Weston Endowed Professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Marketing, and Richard Gretz, associate professor of marketing, is delving into what makes or breaks a video game.

A series of top-tier papers and presentations, including one at the Big Data, Big Movies conference in Berlin, Germany this fall, show that the video game industry has developed several innovative tactics to snag and keep customers.

“One of the first things we started looking at was backward compatibility,” Gretz said. “Some consoles are compatible with older versions of themselves, which allows users to play games they already own on a newer console.”

“In fact, the superstar games attract more people to the industry and in most cases actually help the sales of the smaller games. In a sense, everyone wins.”
-Suman Basuroy

While backward compatibility keeps gamers from having to replace all of their games when they upgrade their consoles, Gretz, Basuroy and UTSA Ph.D. candidate Jorge Pena Marin, found that it wasn’t as attractive as they anticipated.

“People perceive backward compatibility as less innovative,” Gretz said. “If your new console is doing things your previous console can do, then how is it new?”

The pair also worked with Ph.D. student BJ Allen to find that companies are utilizing a classic marketing technique called bundling, wherein a console and a game are sold as one package.

“We’ve found that companies are actually more successful when they bundle a game and a console later in its release,” Basuroy said. “That way, you’re offering a new, more attractive deal for a console that doesn’t have the advantage of being brand new.”

Gretz and Basuroy also discovered that while superstar games account for a majority of the industry’s revenue, they don’t seem to snag sales away from lesser-performing games.

Business Faculty Training Army Reservists to Become Cyber Warriors

cyberGlenn Dietrich, professor of information systems and cyber security in the UTSA College of Business, has received a $471,549 federal grant to support UTSA’s Army Reserve Cyber Private Public Partnership Program (Cyber P3). UTSA was tapped by the United States Army Reserve as a founding member of the program in 2015.

As part of the grant, the College of Business will train Army reservists to become highly-qualified cyber warriors at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level.

The grant will also support the creation of a new laboratory to give this generation of cyber warriors the kind of hands-on research experience UTSA is known for offering its students.

“Much of the research will focus on industrial control systems security,” said Dietrich, the project’s principal investigator. “These young reservists will learn the skills necessary to protect our power grid, our water systems and petroleum pipelines.”

Dietrich plans to start creating the educational programs immediately, with construction on the new lab to begin this fall. One of his main objectives is to recruit participants through the Wounded Warrior Project.

“UTSA is ranked first in the nation for cyber security for a reason,” Dietrich said. “We can use those considerable skills to help Army reservists and wounded veterans find rewarding jobs in a growing, in-demand field.”

Exploring the Mind of a Cyber Terrorist
cyber_terror“I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to get people to understand that the human component of cyber security is very important. Being able to project future scenarios is one of the most important aspects of cyber security. We need more understanding of why these attacks occur and why people do them. Then we can start figuring out what their targets will be and what they’re likely to do. With that, we can stop them from happening.”

Max Kilger
Director of Data Analytics Program

“Too Big to Fail” Banks
banks“As banks get larger, they have more market power. Over the past 20 or 30 years, we’ve seen this trend with the number of banks declining. If you can’t compete, you’ll be acquired by another bank. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in any market you can’t leave it unleashed completely. You always need regulatory measures, but to what extent is a different story.”

Edgar Ghossoub
Associate Professor of Economics

Creative Leadership
leadership“Creativity flourishes in supportive environments where leaders and subordinates have good interpersonal relationships. In such environments, subordinates will go an extra mile for a leader without expecting anything in return because they have a good relationship. They can depend on each other, because they trust each other. Leadership is a very complex phenomenon. It’s not about whether leaders are born or made, it’s about how they use their skills once they get into that position.”

Dina Krasikova
Assistant Professor of Management

Numbers Play Vital Role in Consumer Behavior
numbers“From a managerial perspective, numbers are pervasive in marketing or everyday contexts. My work suggests that numbers can also communicate other psychological meanings as well. When setting list prices, it’s better to use precise numbers because precision signals expertise and confidence. As a result, the offer recipient will counter less. As the negotiation is underway, we suggest that it’s beneficial to make a round offer because it cues completion. Since bargaining is not a pleasant process, closing the deal sooner might be desired.”

Dengfeng Yan
Assistant Professor of Marketing