The Human Psychology Behind Cybersecurity With Bec McKeown

Welcome to Razorwire, the podcast that explores the intricate world of cybersecurity. I’m Jim, your host, and on this episode, we have a fascinating guest joining us: Bec McKeown, a renowned expert in the psychology behind security. This episode is a must-listen for cybersecurity professionals for three key reasons:

Firstly, Bec delves into the challenges of conducting investigations and spotting deception in the cybersecurity field. Her insights will equip you with the tools to identify suspicious behaviour, such as stealing or leaking sensitive information.

Secondly, she addresses the crucial skill of effectively communicating risks to higher-level executives without instilling fear. Understanding the psychology behind this communication is vital for cybersecurity professionals seeking to navigate the boardroom and gain support for their security measures.

Lastly, Bec sheds light on building trust within the cybersecurity community, dispelling fears of punishment for reporting mistakes or risks. Her expertise in psychological techniques and team building will give you valuable strategies for fostering an environment of collaboration and trust.

So, cybersecurity professionals, get ready to dive into the fascinating world of the psychology behind security with Bec McKeown on this episode of Razorwire.

“… for me, it’s all part of this cognitive fitness thing that you have the agile thinking and the cognitive techniques to do decision making and that sort of thing. But there’s also understanding yourself. Where are you as a person? What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, development needs or the areas where you’re not so great at things.” 

Bec McKeown

Listen to this episode on your favourite podcasting platform:

In this episode, we covered the following topics:

● Complex cybersecurity and agile thinking skills

● Influence, language and understanding for effective communication

● Investigation challenges, spotting deception and overcoming fear

● Understanding different groups for effective collaboration

● Learning how to engage with different individuals 

● The two ways in which the brain works: system one (fast, instinctive) and system two (rational)

● How cognitive narrowing during a cybersecurity crisis affects confidence

● Tips for managing and handling crises effectively

● Burnout risks and how to avoid them in high-stress infosec careers

● Building resilience: individual and organisational responsibilities

● The importance of recognising symptoms, empathy and self-awareness

● Teaching critical thinking and mentoring effectively

● How to use stories for knowledge application and understanding



Bec McKeown

Bec McKeown is a Chartered Psychologist with twenty years’ experience of researching and evaluating human performance in high-risk, high-stakes industries, including the UK Ministry of Defence. The knowledge and insights gained from this research have given Bec a unique perspective on the ways humans react in times of crisis, and she is an experienced speaker and thought leader on the psychology of human performance in cybersecurity. 

In 2019, Bec established Mind Science, an organisation dedicated to assisting companies at both operational and strategic levels. Her primary focus revolves around leveraging psychological principles to enhance situational awareness, decision-making, and problem-solving for teams operating in complex environments. With a proven track record, Bec continues to make significant contributions in shaping the landscape of human performance psychology. 

Resources Mentioned


Prof Debi Ashenden – Adelaide University

Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast & Slow

British Psychological Society

Burnout Culture is a Cyber Risk | Yanya Viskovich | TEDxZurich

Other episodes you’ll enjoy

What To Do If You Are A Victim Cybercrime: The Anatomy Of High Profile Incident

Trust & Culture as Cornerstones of Cyber Security with Paul Dwyer

Connect with your host James Rees

Hello, I am James Rees, the host of the Razorwire podcast. This podcast brings you insights from leading cyber security professionals who dedicate their careers to making a hacker’s life that much more difficult.

Our guests bring you experience and expertise from a range of disciplines and from different career stages. We give you various viewpoints for improving your cyber security – from seasoned professionals with years of experience, triumphs and lessons learned under their belt, to those in relatively early stages of their careers offering fresh eyes and new insights.

With new episodes every other Wednesday, Razorwire is a podcast for cyber security enthusiasts and professionals providing insights, news and fresh ideas on protecting your organisation from hackers.

For more information about us or if you have any questions you would like us to discuss email

If you need consultation, visit, We give our clients a personalised, integrated approach to information security, driven by our belief in quality and discretion.

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