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Berkeley Lab Contributes to $2.5M supplemental grant for NSF-funded Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

October 5, 2018

Linda Vu, lvu@lbl.gov, 510.4952402


Sean Peisert, Berkeley Lab’s chief cybersecurity researcher is overseeing the Lab’s efforts in the CCoE’s expanded activities.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Trusted CI, the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CCoE) a $2.5 million supplemental grant to extend the CCoE through 2019 and expand its activities. The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Oklahoma State University are joining the collaboration to support the CCoE’s expanded activities, which will be to assist in transitioning cybersecurity research into practice in order to better secure the NSF community, creating a Cybersecurity Fellows program to broaden the impact of the CCoE, and creating an Open Science Cybersecurity Framework.

 The Center for Trustworthy Scientific Cyberinfrastructure (CTSC) launched in 2016 as a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence with a $5M NSF grant, now known as Trusted CI, the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. Indiana University is the lead institution for the NSF CCoE in collaboration with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 “NSF science and engineering increasingly rely on cyberinfrastructure (CI), which, like all computing, is under attack,” said Von Welch, who serves as director and principal investigator of Trusted CI. “Trusted CI has been leading the NSF community in building a set of technical, policy, and cultural best practices necessary to ensure the security of that infrastructure and ensure the trustworthy nature of the science it produces. We’re very pleased to play an expanded role with our new collaborators in this very important work of protecting NSF-funded research, and we thank the NSF for their support.”

Trusted CI works with the open science community through direct engagements to tackle individual projects, cybersecurity-related challenges, the sharing of effective practices through monthly webinars and publications, and the annual NSF Cybersecurity Summit, bringing together over one hundred members of the community to share experiences and form key relationships.

Berkeley Lab has long had a focus on security for scientific research, dating back to the development of the Bro Network Security Monitor and a variety of tools and protocols for secure collaboaration in the mid-1990s, up to its present work in security for high-performance computing systems. “We’re very excited to have the opportunity to join Trusted CI,” said Sean Peisert, Berkeley Lab’s chief cybersecurity researcher who is overseeing Berkeley Lab’s efforts in the CCoE’s expanded activities.  “Trusted CI has made a significant difference in cybersecurity for the NSF community — and beyond — in its existence. The scope of its impact demonstrates its value to science in the United States.”

Berkeley Lab’s role in Trusted CI will center around expansion of cybersecurity programs for open science projects. In 2016, it co-led with Trusted CI the Open Science Cyber Risk Profile (OSCRP) effort — a document and working group that put forth a tractable process for risk management of scientific instruments and data. 

“It’s a great fit for the Berkeley Lab’s areas of expertise,” said Peisert. “Our focus is advanced technologies for security and privacy that enable or improve scientific workflows that may otherwise not be possible with current ‘best practices,’ that may otherwise hinder scientific progress. We look forward to contributing our real-world expertise on developing and deploying techniques by the NSF scientific community to best enable scientific computing to function both securely and efficiently.

A recently announced $4.9 million award from the NSF will fund a new center focused on protecting and securing U.S. research. The Research Security Operations Center, or ResearchSOC, complements the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, augmenting its assessment and leadership with operational cybersecurity services. Von Welch is also the principal investigator on the ResearchSOC award.

ResearchSOC is a virtual center led by IU and distributed across IU, Duke University, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and University of California San Diego. ResearchSOC will help provide the research and education community with the cybersecurity services, training and information sharing necessary to make scientific computing resilient to cyberattacks.

“The ResearchSOC provides critical operational cybersecurity services, tailored for the research community’s unique infrastructure and collaborative workflows,” said Von Welch. “The ResearchSOC’s services will be a strong compliment to Trusted CI’s community leadership and guidance.”

Trusted CI, the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant ACI-1547272. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or any other organization.

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High performance computing plays a critical role in scientific discovery. Researchers increasingly rely on advances in computer science, mathematics, computational science, data science, and large-scale computing and networking to increase our understanding of ourselves, our planet, and our universe. Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area researches, develops, and deploys new foundations, tools, and technologies to meet these needs and to advance research across a broad range of scientific disciplines.