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Taking an Internet-of-Things Approach to Cybersecurity using Quantum Teams

By Desiree L. DePriest, Kaplan University 

Figure 1:  Padlock Image  Superimposed on a Motherboard (Blue Coat)

The trend of cyber-attacks in the 21st century is not isolated to one company or one mode of connectivity but to the entire Internet-of-Things (IoT). The world has become such that all devices used for human functionality, from voting to the Space Station to flushing toilets, are capable of internet connectivity. As a result of this new reality, a team-approach to cyber-attack prevention is warranted. The team approach must be specifically designed for the virtual world. Quantum teaming provides the environment or the virtual real estate, to create entanglement, superposition, and innate wisdom that mitigates the uncertainty of cyber attacks and strengthens cybersecurity. 

Everywhere but Nowhere Existence

IoT is quantum in nature because of its everywhere but nowhere existence. The parents of a newborn sleeping in her nursery, are not thinking about anyone else listening to their child through the connectivity of home devices to devices outside of their home. From nowhere comes access to your information everywhere, including, the baby’s nursery, anywhere there is a phone, and the automobile. There are chips in retail items to track theft, chips to track animals, and chips to track teenagers. All are capable of being hacked. 

Currently, many of the open discussions about cyber-security are worst-case scenarios such as predators and Big Brother; both involving algorithms too complex for most families to consider. A more realistic scenario is someone who quietly hovers, records and assesses your private life, through equipment like cameras on the nation’s traffic lights. It is a database that is without judgment, until it’s needed for judgment; without action until it is needed for action. 

The U.S. military today has the largest concentration of experts and legal authority with respect to cyberspace (O’Connell, 2012). This would seem to indicate the strata of the IoT, its members and its teams, is being approached from a Cold War perspective. This may only confound the issue and create more clandestine and horrific mass destruction. An alternative would be to make the IoT superstrata in cyberspace and open the knowledge of the connections to all through quantum teaming. 

Figure 2
:  The Internet of Things [illustrated by Wilgengebroed on Flickr (image released through Creative Commons licensure)]

Encouraging Citizen Entanglement with the Issues

Instead of constriction and internet militarization, encouraging corporations to create cross-teams to fully entangle is a more productive option. Similar to placing nutrition facts on food cartons, have each manufacturer of hardware, software, and mobile applications create a combined quantum team across industries. SAP type tools and all things e-tail would fully disclose their known entanglements also. For example, CITI manages Amazon’s credit card line. Perceived differently, Amazon leases its name to expand CITI’s credit card entanglement. Either way, if a consumer already has a CITI card, draping another credit card with a known name like Amazon, may expand CITIs portfolio or accounts per customer. It is a similar account creation entanglement as exposed at Wells Fargo in 2016 except the latter was obviously unethical and opaque. Corporations understand the opportunity of stock dispersion to maintain a strong market and would benefit from seeing the prevention of successful cyber-attacks in that same way. Companies can leverage quantum dispersion, small virtual groups that share the IoT of entangled things, to track and then predict – and prevent – through superposition. The demand would be every entangled stakeholder know all the other entangled stakeholders involved in their activities. This sharing of IoT, in quantum teaming, leads to the effects of superposition. 

The 2016 DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack that affected several very influential companies actually hit one entangled company called Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic (Perlroth, 2016).  According to the New York Times (October 21, 2016):

“A distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, occurs when hackers flood the servers that run a target’s site with internet traffic until it stumbles or collapses under the load. Such attacks are common, but there is evidence that they are becoming more powerful, more sophisticated and increasingly aimed at core internet infrastructure providers.”

From the ripple of water at high tide or waves of people at football games, sites were inaccessible starting on the East Coast, but spread westward in three waves as the day wore on and into the evening, according to Perlroth (2016). Establishing an omni-industry, transparent-to-user, and quantum team would place the advantage away from the attackers because the West Coast would have known simultaneously with the East coast victims but with time to prevent the DDoS symptoms through superposition. It may sound like science fiction, but new research is beginning to quantify what actually happens in superposition applied to the IoT.
Superposition is a term associated with one behavioral phenomena of quantum teaming (DePriest, 2016). Superposition is a measurement of simultaneous activity or behavior among like elements regardless of location or proximity to one another. The increased intensity of cyber-attacks activates malicious algorithms, per node, all over the world simultaneously. Each node has a unique trigger event but all come into potential activity at the same time. This is superposition and it is not restricted to malicious intent. An intended DDoS can be met with an impenetrable demilitarized zone across an entire industry, region, or eventually, a country. It is not defensive but transparent and evolving similar to the way communication evolves – entangling lexicons, language and science, vocabulary, and multiple skillsets brought together through quantum teams. It transforms the uncertainty of attack into shared surprise that can be leveraged to maintain non-malicious environments. 

Figure 3:  Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) Attack (illustrated by Nasanbuyn in 2016, and image released through a Creative Commons license)

Managing Surprise Together

Research in neural information processing used mathematical theory to quantitatively characterize surprise when humans experienced a shared stimulus, activity or event (Itti & Baldi, 2005) that was novel. Humans looking at the same stimulus across different spatio-temporal scales, modalities, and levels of abstraction elicited simultaneous gaze shifts by all subjects, 84% of the time.  Correlates of surprise stem from the sensory cortex and may have evolved to adapt teaming, to predict, and to quiet down the cyber-attacks of the world by focusing on the unpredictability or surprise of preventing the attack (Itti & Baldi, 2005). Beyond sensory biology, the researchers suggest computable surprise could guide the development of data mining and compression systems. More importantly, quantum teams to find surprising sequences in code and then prevent malicious activities. 

The challenge is in the possibility the entire cyber-security dilemma is in fact like science fiction. In these theaters, harm is released by governments as well as rogue hackers or groups of hackers as is suspected with the 2009 Stuxnet worm (O’Connell). If this is the case, communities have to demand transparent disclosure of national intentions. 

Prevention Preferred

Figure 4
:  "Cyber Attacks" (a photo from the Norse Attack Map) (image by Christiaan Colen, and released through Creative Commons licensure)  

Otherwise, prevention is better than cure in both biology and cyber security. This research integrates seamlessly with the Internet-of-Things environment where placing a signature on one petition entangles the signee’s email address and demographics to hundreds, if not thousands, of other internet connections without direct consent. Not knowing how things on the internet are entangled is fertile ground for cyber-attacks and gives attackers too many places to hide. Cyber-attacks are not new and NATO has been developing policies and capacity aimed at cyber security for over a decade; continuing through the establishment of the Cyber Command subunit of Strategic Command within the Department of Defense (O’Connell, 2012). 

This paper suggests approaching the problem of cyber-attacks through a non-military approach to the internet of things and the quantum teaming process of entanglement, superposition, and quantifying human surprise. Cyber security professionals should not manage the IoT by applying outdated techniques to an evolving sociotechnical landscape. A deep focus on threat intelligence data feeds and big data operations (Nadeem, 2016) by quantum teams without corporate borders should be considered. Old ways should be loosened and replaced with 21st century solutions involving technology and human potentiality in quantum teams. 


DePriest, D. L. (2016). Quantum Teaming – A Primer: Teaming in the 21st Century Self-Information Age.

Itti, L. & Baldi, P. (2005). Bayesian Surprise Attracts Human Attention. Neural Information Processing Systems 18 (NIPS 2005) Conference. Retrieved from

Nadeem, M. (2016, Sept. 2). 15 European Cybersecurity Startups You Need to Know About in 2016. 
Techflier. Retrieved from 

O’Connell, M.E. (2012). Cyber Security without Cyber War. Oxford:  Oxford University Press. 2012.

About the Author 

Desiree DePriest is the founder of “Quantum Teaming” which seeks to make virtual organization teaming a natural human experience of interactions and relationships. Dr. DePriest sees every team as a unique experience for human evolution through leveraging the natural and honed skills of each member. Through understanding that humans naturally entangle with other humans, we increase the freedom and dimensionality of the teaming experience. The result is superposition where the collective cognition and behavior of a few members produce outcomes previously requiring many members. Uncertainty is moved away from fear and turned into "surprise" moments measurable scientifically. 

DePriest's expertise is in business intelligence (BI) and entrepreneurship including systems analysis and design, decision support systems, and artificial intelligence.  In 2014, Desiree created KapTechnology which is an IT internship offering for students at Kaplan University School of Business and IT. She also created the Graduate Information Technology Association (GITA) and serves as Faculty Advisor.  Desiree loves working extensively with students applying learning to real-world projects. Dr. DePriest is also the Vice-chair of the IRB at Kaplan University. 

Her publications include research in persuasive and predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and pattern recognition. Dr. DePriest’s book on quantum teaming is available at Amazon at:  

DePriest holds a Ph.D. in Management & Organization with emphasis in Information Technology, along with two masters degrees (Telecom/Networks and IS/IT respectively). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Howard University. She may be reached at  

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