Commonwealth Cyber Initiative funds 11 inclusive cybersecurity projects – Virginia Tech

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Virginia researchers are working to ensure people feels safer and that their privacy is more protected on computer networks and other devices through a new inclusive cybersecurity program funded by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI). 

CCI awarded 11 projects as part of its 2024 Addressing Inclusion and Accessibility in Cybersecurity Program.

“Cybersecurity helps protect our data and the infrastructure we use every day,” said Luiz DaSilva, CCI executive director. “Our first inclusive cybersecurity program is addressing some of the challenges in making sure that security reaches as many people as possible. CCI researchers will be addressing authentication, social bias, vulnerability measures for older adults, and more. We are excited about the new opportunities and impact this research could have on our communities.”

Researchers are from Virginia TechGeorge Mason University, the University of VirginiaWilliam & Mary, and Old Dominion University.

The CCI hub in Arlington funded six projects with additional funding for projects coming from CCI’s Coastal Virginia Node for one project, Northern Virginia Node for two projects, and Southwest Virginia Node for two projects.

The strength of the proposals prompted CCI node directors to fund additional projects. 

CCI Northern Virginia Node Director Liza Wilson Durant said, “As CCI breaks new ground with new cybersecurity solutions and technologies, we want to invest in solutions that meet a diversity of user needs. This requires intentional investment and research that leverages a diversity of disciplines, not only computing and engineering but also the social sciences for example. 

“We are excited by the potential impact these transdisciplinary teams will have on cybersecurity challenges across diverse populations,” she said.

CCI Southwest Virginia Node Director Gretchen Matthews said, “The CCI Southwest Virginia Node wanted to invest in this type of research to ensure that cybersecurity efforts reach some of the most vulnerable communities. Our hope is that this program will continue and have long lasting impacts.”

The CCI Inclusion and Diversity Committee helped develop the program. 

“CCI is expanding our understanding of cybersecurity and identifying gaps, specifically in accessibility and inclusion,” said Nathan Carter, committee chair. “The inclusive cybersecurity program not only highlights the depth of expertise in Virginia, but also the keen interest from researchers to address this crucial need. The CCI Inclusion and Diversity Committee is excited to see the impact this program will have on the commonwealth and the nation.”

About the funded projects

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