2016: Cybersecurity_Networking

Cybersecurity and Networking

Guarding Openness

$5-million Grant Establishes Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

When it comes to cybersecurity, academic research organizations have a difficult mission.

An open flow of ideas and data is critical to sparking scientific advances. Such an open culture though, by definition, poses greater security risks.

Thanks to a $5-million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, PSC and three allied institutions will establish the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CTSC) to provide expertise to research organizations to develop, share and enact cybersecurity measures to help safeguard the security of more than $7 billion in research funded by the NSF. The grant was awarded to Indiana University, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, PSC and the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

As part of its mission to disseminate information and encourage collaboration, CTSC will continue to convene an annual NSF Cybersecurity Summit. Led by PSC’s James Marsteller since 2007 and drawing significant input from the NSF community, these summits are a forum to share experiences, provide training and discuss cybersecurity challenges.

“The summits provide a key opportunity to share experiences, lessons learned and advances with other NSF projects,” Marsteller says. “They also offer an opportunity to discuss serious issues around implementing cybersecurity not only of a technical nature, but also cultural, managerial and budgetary and the like.”

Opening the Net

Grant Continues PSC Work to Improve Network Reliability

The TCP/IP code that underlies the Internet is near-miraculous, giving us a system that works with remarkable effectiveness, reliability and ease. Except, of course, when it doesn’t. One drawback is it works invisibly. Even network administrators can’t open its hood and see what’s going on when things go wrong.

A new, $300,000 National Science Foundation grant will take PSC’s ongoing project to “open up” TCP/IP to the next phase. The grant will fund development of TestRig 2.0, an automated system to provide network administrators with information about faulty connections, greatly speeding network diagnosis and repair.

“When researchers encounter network problems they naturally reach out to network engineers,” says PSC’s Chris Rapier, principal investigator in the grant. “However, the engineers have to rely on the user to provide them with enough information to properly diagnose the problem. This often means multiple rounds of email, phone calls and tests.”

TestRig will allow users to test their connections and send the results automatically, while maintaining their data security. “The goal is to make this as easy as possible” for users and administrators, Rapier adds.

TestRig joins a growing stable of PSCled innovations in network administration that includes DANCES, which will allow large data users to schedule data transfers to minimize network disruption, and Web10G, an intuitive dashboard to help users identify data slowdowns so they know when to ask for help.