Grant / January 2020

The Cybersecurity of “Smart” Infrastructure Systems

Urban infrastructure such as water and sanitation systems, subways, power grids, and flood defense systems are crucial for social and economic life yet are vulnerable to natural hazards that could disrupt services, such as earthquakes or floods. New sensor systems can potentially provide early warnings of problems, and thus help avert system failure or allow for evacuations before catastrophes. However, introducing such “smart infrastructure” systems can increase the risk of cyberattack. In this project, we will examine perceptions regarding the countervailing risks posed to infrastructure systems by natural hazards on the one hand, and cyberattacks following the introduction of new sensor systems on the other hand. We will also design and evaluate the efficacy of new approaches to communicating these countervailing risks, drawing on recent advances in data visualization and political psychology.