Research and Scholarship

Each destination area seeks to tackle a collection of wicked problems. The problem areas targeted by the Integrated Security destination area are below.

Cyber-Physical Systems Security 

A cyber-physical system (CPS) involves the interconnection of the digital world, the physical world, and humans interacting with both worlds. Examples range from home automation to self-driving cars, and the breadth of technology increases every day with new innovations. These technologies seek to optimize our environment through analytics and efficiencies; however, they also open up major new attack vectors for hackers and could seriously compromise our privacy. Within this research thrust we seek to understand and address fundamental security and privacy challenges in the Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligent infrastructure.

Security Governance, Standards and Frameworks

Ensuring secure environments, whether national, organizational, or individual, requires a combination of technological, political, legal, and behavioral solutions. An additional component of this secure environment is the set of practices and policies that serves as the foundation for decisions needed to provide such secure environments. To guide decision making with regard to the adoption and oversight of those practices, known as security governance, security frameworks and standards must be developed, tested, and refined as the technological and human environments related to security continue to evolve.

Privacy and Ethics

As social, political, and business interactions are increasingly digitized (e.g., social networks, electronic commerce and government, electronic health records, etc.), and as vast amounts of information are computerized, collected, analyzed, and retained (e.g., Internet of Everything, Big Data, etc.), information about individuals and their activities can be tracked and used without their explicit permission, knowledge or understanding in the pursuit of security. Understanding the privacy and ethical issues that derive from the potentially harmful uses of individual data for security purposes is one of the goals of this research thrust. In this environment, technology can outpace established ethical, regulatory and legal frameworks; therefore this research thrust addresses both the adaptation of existing and the design of new frameworks for effective security governance. An additional goal is to support multidisciplinary approaches to the design and development of privacy controls and practices that can foster an equilibrium between needed information disclosure (e.g., for system efficiency, security, etc.) and protection of that information. This research area is connected to, and overlaps with, the other research areas of cyber-physical systems and data fusion, sensorized environments and Global Security, and is integral to Security Governance processes and decision making.

Global Security in Physical and Social Environments

Security at a global level is shaped by  historical conflicts, geographic realities and competitions for natural resources. Corporations, governments, and individuals all interact in complex economic, social, and physical environments, and their actions are influenced by those boundary conditions as well as the strategies of their allies and adversaries. The interrelation of security policy and these boundary conditions has been a traditional focus of global security studies and remains as relevant as ever, particularly given the rapidly changing physical environment due to climate change  and the re-emergence of multipolar competitive and conflictual approaches to security, such as the recent decisions of several nations to modernize their nuclear arsenals. In the arena of global security, technological advances such as remote sensing, climate modeling, and big data play an important role in providing scholars and decision makers with better information. At the same time, broad perspectives provided by humanities, history, and social sciences are essential to put this technical information into context and to analyze, define, and refine policy. Recognizing these new realities, we aim in this research thrust to understand how physical, technological, and social environments threaten, as well as enhance, human security, social justice, and civil liberties.