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MIT Cybersecurity Clinic - Helping city agencies assess their vulnerabilities to cyberattack




11: Urban Studies and Planning

Faculty Supervisor:

Larry Susskind

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Jungwoo Chun: jwchun@mit.edu

Project Description

During the past academic year (2019-2020), with the help of edX, we created four online teaching modules and a certification exam to train qualified cybersecurity risk assessors. The modules were folded into new undergraduate and graduate classes at MIT (The Cybersecurity Clinic) which were “tested” in the spring of 2020 and are now officially added to the MIT Bulletin (11.074/11.274). Once students are “certified” by completing the four, one-week instructional modules and passing the certifications exam, they are assigned to teams supervised by advanced doctoral students and post-docs. Each team helps a public agency client by preparing a Cyberattack Vulnerability Assessment. The results from the first test run of the course in Spring 2020 were terrific. The student groups worked remotely (via online calls) with several public agencies in Massachusetts. The Clinic will be offered again in the Fall (2020) and Spring (2021). Beginning this Fall, we want to interview all participating client agency staff before-and-after the Clinic begins work to assess what aspects of student engagement worked and what can still be improved. We also want to see whether our hands-on learning model (i.e. providing direct services to public agency clients) can be re-created in other regions by other universities in conjunction with the 17-US university Public Interest Technology University Network. We are eager to add one or two undergraduates to the MIT team that will be administering surveys (to client and students) and analyzing the results. The student staff will be able to learn how to use “mixed” applied social science research methods (with the goal of improving clinic operations and maximizing city agency client satisfaction).


No qualifications or prior experience are required. We strongly encourage 11-6 students to apply, although we will welcome students across the Institute, including first-years. Students are expected to devote at least 8 hours per week for 12 weeks during the term. Students will work directly (via online communication tools) with city government agencies, engaging with real cybersecurity risk assessment data; (2) students will interview city agency staff (under the guidance of advanced graduate students); and (3) students will first complete the human subject research training on COUHES if they have not done so already.