News: Public Policy Ph.D Candidate Receives Funding from Cybersecurity Fellowship

Jenna McGrath

Posted February 21, 2018

School of Public Policy Ph.D candidate Jenna McGrath recently received funding from the GT Institute for Information Security and Privacy (IISP) Cybersecurity Fellowship program to support her research for this semester. Jenna’s research is titled “Cyber-Physical Security Policy for the Electric Grid: What Has Been the Policy Response, and How Effective Is It?” Her dissertation research explores the evolution of targeted physical and cyberattacks against U.S. electricity infrastructure, and how federal funding and policies react to improve grid resiliency and security. Jenna says that her research considers significant outages and usual incidents on the grid caused by weather events, technical failures, and malicious physical and cyberattacks. She evaluates how the characteristics of these incidents could impact policy interventions and funding allocations at the federal level. She plans to evaluate whether policy improvements will prevent and hinder future physical and cyberattacks. For this research, Jenna is interested in researching the risk of cyber-enabled physical attacks given past physical and cyberattacks and the ensuing policy responses.

Jenna says that her research can help improve assessing the metrics of attacks on electricity infrastructure in the U.S. and the policy response. Furthermore, it can help explore vulnerable aspects left unaddressed and potential targets in more complex future attacks. "Receiving this award allows me to focus more of my research on the risk of cyber-enabled physical attacks on the electric grid,” said Jenna. She adds, “Inclusion in the Cybersecurity Fellowship program will allow me to communicate, collaborate, and learn from the program’s participating faculty, excelling my policy-based research further and adding novel computing, cybersecurity, and other interdisciplinary perspectives and techniques to my work.” Jenna is currently advised by Valerie Thomas in the H.Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering.

Click on the link for more information on Jenna McGrath’s research: