Grant / January 2020

The Cybersecurity of “Smart Infrastructure”

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 examine perceptions regarding the countervailing risks posed to infrastructure systems by natural hazards, as well as by cyberattacks following the introduction of new sensor systems, as well as variation in the extent to which smart city technologies pose cyber risks. We also design and evaluate the efficacy of new approaches to communicating these countervailing risks, drawing on recent advances in data visualization and political psychology.