Skip to main content
12 June 2024

Image is of woman typing at a laptop. The laptop screen has code and a padlock.

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) has announced funding for 11 innovative projects aimed at addressing inclusion and accessibility in cybersecurity. Researchers from Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, William & Mary, George Mason University, and Old Dominion University are leading these efforts to enhance digital accessibility and security.

The funded projects cover a range of topics, including secure authentication for people with disability, inclusive biometric authentication, and brain-computer interfaces for password input. Luiz DaSilva, CCI executive director, emphasised the importance of this initiative, stating, “Our first inclusive cybersecurity program is addressing some of the challenges in making sure that security reaches as many people as possible.”

Notable projects include:

George Mason University: Marcos Zampieri will explore inclusive content moderation processes, while Lannan Lisa Luo and Qiang Zeng focus on accessible authentication technologies for individuals with disability.

Old Dominion University: Vikas Ashok and Faryaneh Poursardar will develop counter-measures against deceptive website patterns for users who are blind or with low-vision. Mary L. Still and Jeremiah D. Still aim to simplify cyber hygiene materials for better digital literacy.

Virginia Tech: Abhijit Sarkar and Lynn Abbott are working on a biometric authentication system using cardiac biometrics. Tabitha L. James and Viswanath Venkatesh will study the impact of “judgy AI” on vulnerable populations.

University of Virginia: Yixin Sun and Lanfei Shi are developing tools to counter AI-driven threats on social media platforms.

William & Mary: Yanfu Zhang and Qun Li are creating password technology for those with mobility related disability, using brain-computer interface systems.

The initiative highlights the collaborative effort of CCI hubs and nodes across Virginia, supporting research that leverages diverse disciplines to tackle cybersecurity challenges. Nathan Carter, chair of the CCI Inclusion and Diversity Committee, noted the program’s potential impact, stating, “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.”

For more information, visit the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative website.