Sociotechnical Cybersecurity and Privacy

As our access to information grows and our ability to exchange information digitally expands, the risks to our security and privacy grow as well. Cybersecurity threats and threats to our privacy are not the result of technology alone. Often, it is human behavior that poses the greatest risk to cybersecurity and privacy. Researchers in sociotechnical cybersecurity and privacy understand that technology exists in a societal context and that effective cybersecurity approaches must consider the human and societal context of technology. The sociotechnical approach considers the interplay of the person, technology, and organizations to build real-world solutions to the challenges faced in cybersecurity and privacy.

iSchool researchers are finding new ways to approach threats to cybersecurity and privacy. Our researchers are examining how hackers think to better understand how and why they attack, demonstrating the depth and breadth of information about an individual that can be learned from social media, and considering the privacy and security threats that children and teens face online. As technology continues to offer new opportunities for sharing information, our researchers are working to ensure that the risks to users are minimized.


The iSchool’s expertise in sociotechnical cybersecurity and privacy can assist in:

  • Building systems that consider human behavior realistically and use this knowledge to help users stay safe and set privacy boundaries
  • Protecting vulnerable populations, including children and teens, as these groups make further use of digital communications
  • Understanding the cybersecurity threats faced by large institutions and how institutions can build more secure systems
  • Identifying the effects of social media use on privacy and social interaction

Projects in this area include

  • WikiBreach
  • Safe Space and Knowledge Discovery: Social Media in the National Parks

iSchool experts include

  • Jennifer Golbeck
  • Katie Shilton
  • Mega Subramaniam
  • Timothy Summers
  • Jessica Vitak
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
Room 4105 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing
4130 Campus Drive
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: (301) 405.2038
Fax: (301) 314.9145
Contact the iSchool