New funding enables work on Internet policy and cybersecurity for key infrastructure

Today, MIT’s cross-disciplinary Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI) announced that it has awarded $1.5 million to a select group of principal investigators for early-stage Internet policy and cybersecurity research projects.

“Each project is aimed to support innovative research in their respective fields and result in new insights that can guide policy makers in making wise choices on pressing Internet policy challenges,” says IPRI founding director Daniel Weitzner, who is also a principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

The seed fund grants cover five interdisciplinary projects, with lead researchers from across campus including the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), and CSAIL.

Sloan economist Andrew Lo and CSAIL computer scientist Vinod Vaikuntanathan are receiving funding for their project on measuring systemic cybersecurity risk. Vaikuntanathan, who studies cryptography, says that the economic effects of cyber attacks are hard to assess, quantify, and transfer. To address this problem, the team plans to create a multi-party platform to safely collect data to give markets and firms better cybersecurity risk information.

“Understanding the nuance of cybersecurity risk in our critical infrastructure will help policymakers assure that the proper incentives are in place to reduce the threat of catastrophic attacks,” says Weitzner.

CSAIL principal research scientist Howard Shrobe will receive funding for his work using artificial intelligence to analyze and protect urban infrastructure vulnerabilities, with an emphasis on water networks and transportation systems. To improve the cybersecurity of urban infrastructure, he will be working to create a system that automatically identifies “attack graphs” aimed at hacking such structures. He will also be working to develop a program that automatically creates countermeasures that could be…

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