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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cybersecurity for Critical Urban Infrastructure

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX


Critical urban infrastructure including energy, transportation, waste management, emergency service and communication systems are being hacked remotely by cyber attackers. These hackers use ransomware to encrypt the data cities need to run; then, they demand that public agencies pay a ransom to get their own data back. The costs associated with cyber attacks are substantial, extending to tens of millions of dollars to recreate data that are lost, and undermine the reputation of city governments across America.

This course will prepare anyone who wants to work with agencies that are worried about their vulnerability to cyberattack. Topics include:
• Who are the attackers and what are their methods?
• What are the “defensive social engineering” moves cities can use to protect themselves?
• What are the minimum security standards that all public agencies need to meet?
• Who should have responsibility for overseeing cybersecurity in a public agency?
• Should cities be willing to pay the ransoms demanded by hackers?
• What should a city do after it has been attacked?
• What are the most important lessons drawn by cities that have already been attacked?

Through a series of explanatory videos (prepared by industry experts), case studies of an actual attack, role play simulations and debriefings, and short assigned readings, you will learn what cities can and should do to reduce their vulnerabilities. The course also includes checklists of various kinds that cybersecurity vulnerability assessors need to ask and answer.

Taught by

Dr. Lawrence Susskind, Jungwoo Chun, Gregory Falco and Daniel Weitzner


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