Dr Alistair Baron

Lecturer

Research Overview

My primary research areas are Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Cyber Security, with a particular focus on developing solutions to the problems associated with the vast amounts of textual data in online settings; for example, deception and multiple personae detection techniques to assist in countering the use of fake profiles for nefarious purposes. The noisy characteristics of online texts, e.g. the abundance of irregular language and its multi-lingual nature, pose significant barriers to many NLP methods. A primary aim of my research is to build robust NLP tools which are able to cope with, and take advantage of, these features. Relatedly, I am interested in developing machine learning techniques and other technologies which assist users in making informed decisions, such as for forensic investigations, or for crisis management.

Selected Publications

Who am I? Analysing Digital Personas in Cybercrime Investigations
Rashid, A., Baron, A., Rayson, P., May-Chahal, C., Greenwood, P., Walkerdine, J. 04/2013 In: Computer. 46, 4, p. 54-61. 8 p.
Journal article

Children Online: A survey of child language and CMC corpora
Baron, A., Rayson, P., Greenwood, P., Walkerdine, J., Rashid, A. 2012 In: International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. 17, 4, p. 443-481. 39 p.
Journal article

"i didn't spel that wrong did i. Oops": Analysis and normalisation of SMS spelling variation
Tagg, C., Baron, A., Rayson, P. 2012 In: Lingvisticæ Investigationes. 35, 2, p. 367-388. 22 p.
Journal article

Word frequency and key word statistics in corpus linguistics
Baron, A., Rayson, P., Archer, D. 2009 In: Anglistik. 20, 1, p. 41-67. 27 p.
Journal article

Technological solutions to offending
Rashid, A., Greenwood, P., Walkerdine, J., Baron, A., Rayson, P. 03/2012 In: Understanding and preventing online sexual exploitation of children. London : Willan p. 228-243.
Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Fool’s Errand: Looking at April Fools Hoaxes as Disinformation through the Lens of Deception and Humour
Dearden, E., Baron, A. 22/02/2019
Conference contribution/Paper

A time-sensitive historical thesaurus-based semantic tagger for deep semantic annotation
Piao, S.S., Dallachy, F., Baron, A., Demmen, J.E., Wattam, S., Durkin, P., McCracken, J., Rayson, P.E., Alexander, M. 11/2017 In: Computer Speech and Language. 46, p. 113-135. 23 p.
Journal article

Panning for gold: automatically analysing online social engineering attack surfaces
Edwards, M., Larson, R., Green, B., Rashid, A., Baron, A. 08/2017 In: Computers and Security. 69, p. 18-34. 17 p.
Journal article

The simulated security assessment ecosystem: Does penetration testing need standardisation?
Knowles, W., Baron, A., McGarr, T. 09/2016 In: Computers and Security. 62, p. 296-316. 21 p.
Journal article

School of Computing and Communications Postgraduate Research Conference 2019
Types of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition

IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security (Journal)
Publication peer-review

Spelling variation: problems analysis solutions
Invited talk

Using linguistic features to predict age and gender with fake online personas
Invited talk

Corpus Linguistics 2015
Participation in conference

The Web of Lies: deception and fake identities on- and offline
Public Lecture/ Debate/Seminar

Using language analysis to predict age and gender with fake online personas
Invited talk

Using language cues to see through (fake) online personas
Invited talk

Using language cues to see through online personas
Invited talk

Journal of Internet Services and Applications (Journal)
Publication peer-review

Using language cues to see through online personas
Invited talk

Journal of Information Security and Applications (Journal)
Publication peer-review

Multimedia Systems (Journal)
Publication peer-review

CRESTx Lancaster
Participation in conference

Language Resources and Evaluation (Journal)
Publication peer-review

Corpus Linguistics 2013
Participation in conference

Corpora (Journal)
Publication peer-review

VARD 2, DICER, historical spelling variation and modern ‘noisy’ data
Invited talk

UCREL Corpus Research Seminar
Participation in workshop, seminar, course

Research visit
Invited talk

Word frequency and key word statistics in historical corpus linguistics
Invited talk

Faculty of Science and Technology Research Fellowship (Security Lancaster)
Fellowship awarded competitively

SCC (Data Science)

Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Systems Security)

SCC (Data Science), Security Lancaster, Security Lancaster (Systems Security)

  • Cyber Security Research Centre (Data)
  • DSI - Foundations
  • SCC (Data Science)
  • Security Lancaster
  • Security Lancaster (Academic Centre of Excellence)
  • Security Lancaster (Systems Security)
  • UCREL - University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language