Assessing cybersecurity threats on critical infrastructure

Assessing cybersecurity threats on critical infrastructure
Past Projects


Interdependencies & cascading effects of disasters on critical infrastructure

There are 16 critical infrastructure (CI) sectors whose assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on national security, economic security, national public health or safety. The research at CAOE will focus on the impact cyberattacks have on critical infrastructure and how these attacks can have far-reaching cascading consequences.


This project is developing advanced analytics methodologies to investigate cyber-physical disruption, interdependencies systems consequences and cascading effects.

The analytic tools and design framework being designed will offer the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis (OCIA) insights that may influence guidelines and enable policymakers to quickly assess cybersecurity threats and develop plans and policies that help mitigate disastrous cascading events.

The key objectives and goals:

  • Identify hidden vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure networks that can be targeted by adversaries.
  • Analyze cascading, inter-dependent system effects over critical structures.
  • Design systems and network simulation technology to quantify the performance of preventive measures and their cost-effectiveness.
  • Quantify the analytic capabilities and limitations in terms of scale and scope of systems that can be modeled and analyzed meaningfully.


Assessing cybersecurity threats on critical infrastructure

Cyberattacks have the potential to cause major disruption to our critical infrastructures. Working with DHS OCIA, CAOE is equipping analytic leaders with new tools and frameworks that will more quickly assess potential disruptions and help mitigate possible cascading events.

Research Leadership Team

Investigator: John Birge, University of Chicago