The Intersectionality of Infrastructural Cybersecurity, Digital Equity and Social Agency

The role of the individual and the adoption of cybersecurity knowledge and skills became ever-present during the height of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed various cybersecurity threats as more people relied on multiple digital communication modes to survive socially and financially. Notably, the pandemic revealed factors linked to cybersecurity threats, such as the association between social inequalities and cybersecurity knowledge. Importantly, the digital divide negatively affected the knowledge economy and knowledge management in urban areas, significantly impacting economic production or opportunities in these areas. Coined by Wendy Nather (2011), the security poverty line explains that organizations that do not have enough money to obtain significant security are the most vulnerable, and because new security information is constantly emerging, they will remain vulnerable. Applying Nather's security poverty line, low-income residents in urban neighborhoods are also vulnerable because of budget restrictions on the state, local, and individual levels, significantly increasing their victimization. The breadth of digital disparity is still not widely known despite recent efforts examining the lack of racial or gender diversity in cybersecurity and critical reports discussing the systemic issues in the cybersecurity discourse. This can be primarily attributed to the inability of traditional cybersecurity studies to link social equity with technological knowledge. The limited research on digital disparities has indicated that minorities and communities living on the margins that are economically fragile are at greater risk of cybersecurity threats and do not have access to critical digital services. As the digital divide exposed higher rates of digital dis-connectivity among inner-city residents, we cannot overlook how it exacerbated the gaps in education, healthcare, and vulnerabilities in transportation services, to name a few. This research is necessary because there are limited studies exploring cyber insecurity among at-risk populations. Furthermore, conversations on transportation development and access must focus on infrastructural cybersecurity issues affecting marginalized populations, such as broadband access and digital literacy. To better address the issue of cyber insecurity, it is crucial to examine cybersecurity through an intersectional lens. Allowing users of diverse at-risk backgrounds the opportunity to express their understanding and knowledge of cybersecurity while exploring any cybersecurity challenges they encounter and the impact of these challenges. Therefore, the results of this project will contribute to the existing literature that deals with factors or causes of the digital divide, specifically examining how geographic restrictions and lack of affordable transportation options impede access to cybersecurity training or workshops.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $258533
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590

      Morgan State University

      Baltimore, Maryland  United States  21251

      Benedict College

      1600 Harden Street
      Columbia, South Carolina  United States  29204
    • Managing Organizations:

      National Center for Transportation Cybersecurity and Resiliency

      1 Research Dr
      Greenville, South Carolina  United States  29607

      Morgan State University

      Baltimore, Maryland  United States  21251
    • Project Managers:

      Chowdhury, Mashrur

    • Performing Organizations:

      Morgan State University

      Baltimore, Maryland  United States  21251

      Benedict College

      1600 Harden Street
      Columbia, South Carolina  United States  29204
    • Principal Investigators:

      Layne, Asha

      Liu, Larry

      Comert, Gurcan

    • Start Date: 20240101
    • Expected Completion Date: 20241231
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
    • Source Data:

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01906978
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National Center for Transportation Cybersecurity and Resiliency (TraCR)
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3552344812, 69A3552348317
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Feb 5 2024 3:28PM