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Professor Khan Wins NSF Career Award

A special congratulations to Dr. Mohammad Khan for his latest accomplishment of winning an NSF CAREER Award receiving $559,786 over five years for his research project: “The Role of Emotion and Social Motives in Communicating Risk: Implications for User Behavior in the Cyber Security Context.” The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Professor Khan notes that many cyberattacks are preventable if end users take precautionary measures, such as keeping systems updated, but they often fail to do so. His proposal builds upon theories of risk communication, emotional intelligence, and self-determination to design new approaches to cybersecurity risk communication and training. The goals are to enable users to assess risks, costs, and benefits consistently and correctly, to promote task-focused coping responses, and to facilitate their internalization of values, promoting spontaneous diffusion of cybersecurity knowledge. By enabling non-expert users to make informed security decisions through raising cybersecurity risk awareness and self-efficacy development, this project directly addresses an increasingly serious threat to economic growth and national security. This project also creates cybersecurity research and training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, and members from the underrepresented groups through outreach initiatives.

This is our faculty’s 13th NSF Career Award since the turn of the Century. To learn more about Maifi and other UConn awardees, see the article in UConn Today. Best wishes to Maifi for continued success!