Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SGCI Webinar: Security recommendations for science gateways, Sept 29th @ 1pm EDT

This webinar announcement was originally posted on SGCI's website.

Security recommendations for science gateways

Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 1 pm Eastern/10 am Pacific

Presented by Mark Krenz, Chief Security Analyst, Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, Indiana University

Trusted CI has recently published a four-page document targeted at small team science gateways. This document provides a prioritized list of security recommendations to help reduce overall security risk. In this webinar Mark Krenz, from Trusted CI, will be providing an introduction and overview of the document, as well as a discussion of the lessons learned from the last few years of providing security consultations for science gateways.

See SGCI's webinars page for the Zoom link and password.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Trusted CI webinar: Q-Factor: Real-time data transfer optimization, September 27th @11am Eastern

Members of FIU and ESnet are presenting the talk, Q-Factor: Real-time data transfer optimization leveraging In-band Network Network provided by P4 data planes, on Monday September 27th at 11am (Eastern). Our presenters are Jeronimo Bezerra, Richard Cziva, and Dr. Julio Ibarra.

Please register here.

Q-Factor is a framework to enable data transfer optimization based on real-time network state information provided by programmable data planes. Communication networks are critical components of today’s scientific workflows. Researchers leverage long-distance ultra-high-speed networks to transfer massive data sets from acquisition sites to processing sites and share measurements with scientists worldwide. However, while network bandwidth is continuously increasing, most data transfers are unable to efficiently utilize the added capacity due to inherent limitations of parameter settings of the network transport protocols and the lack of network state information at the end hosts. To address these challenges, Q-Factor plans to use sub-second network state data to dynamically configure current transport protocol and operating systems parameters to reach higher network utilization and, as a result, to improve scientific workflows. Q-Factor leverages programmable network devices with the In-band Network Telemetry (INT) framework and delivers a software solution to process in-band measurements at the end hosts. Using Q-Factor on end hots, for instance Data Transfer Nodes (DTN)s, TCP/IP parameters will be configured according to temporal network characteristics, such as round-trip time, network utilization, and network buffer occupancy. This tuning is expected to increase network utilization, shorter flow completion times, and significantly reduce packet drops caused by under-provisioned network buffers. Q-Factor is a collaboration between Florida International University and Energy Science Network.

Speaker Bio

Jeronimo Bezerra is the FIU’s Center for Internet Augmented Research and Assessment’s IT Associate Director. Jeronimo has 19 years of IT and Network Engineering experience, most of them with R&E networks. He is responsible for AmLight network operation and engineering, including the SDN deployment and operation. He is leading the Q-Factor design, development and deployment activities.

Richard Cziva is a software engineer at ESnet. He has a range of technical interests including traffic and performance analysis, data-plane programmability, high-speed packet processing, software-defined networking, and network function virtualization. Prior to joining ESnet in 2018, Richard was a Research Associate at University of Glasgow, where he looked at how advanced services (e.g., personalized firewalls, intrusion detection modules, measurement functions) can be implemented and managed inside wide area networks with programmable edge capabilities. Richard holds a BSc in Computer Engineering (2013) from Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary and a Ph.D. in Computer Science (2018) from University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. He will lead the research activities in Q-Factor.

As the Assistant Vice President for Technology Augmented Research at FIU, Dr. Julio Ibarra is responsible for furthering the mission of the Center for Internet Augmented Research and Assessment (CIARA) – to contribute to the pace and the quality of research at FIU through the application of advanced Cyberinfrastructure. Has 30+ years of IT and Telecom infrastructure management, 18 of those years of specialization with Research and Education networks and project management. Dr. Ibarra will be responsible for overall project management and coordination.

Join Trusted CI's announcements mailing list for information about upcoming events. To submit topics or requests to present, see our call for presentations. Archived presentations are available on our site under "Past Events."

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Testbed Facility Security Workshop at 2021 NSF Cybersecurity Summit

The 2021 NSF Summit Workshop on Testbed Facility Security will be held Monday, October 18 from 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time as part of the 2021 NSF Cybersecurity Summit. The workshop will explore the unique cybersecurity challenges of testbed facilities, stemming from their mission to enable experimental use, including configuration of facility resources for novel networking and security experiments, which may span multiple facilities. The workshop is being co-organized by Chameleon, Colosseum, DETERLab, FABRIC, PAWR, and Trusted CI.
If you are interested in the cybersecurity challenges of experimental cloud-based testbeds, please plan to attend. Visit for more details.
The workshop is a follow-on activity from the Trusted CI FABRIC engagement. See for more information about that engagement.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

2021 Open OnDemand Engagement Concludes

Open OnDemand, funded by NSF OAC, is an open-source HPC portal based on the Ohio Supercomputer Center’s original OnDemand portal. The goal of Open OnDemand is to provide an easy way for system administrators to provide web access to their HPC resources.

Open OnDemand is facing increased community adoption. As a result, it is becoming a critical production service for many HPC centers and clients. Open OnDemand engaged with Trusted CI to improve the overall security of the project, ensuring that it continues to be a trusted and reliable platform for the hundreds of centers and tens of thousands of clients that regularly utilize it. 

Our engagement centered on providing the Open OnDemand team with the skills, tools and resources needed to ensure their software security. This included using the FPVA methodology to conduct in-depth vulnerability assessments independently. In addition, we evaluated the static analysis and dependency checking tools used by Open OnDemand. The analysis of this evaluation led to interesting findings regarding the way tools behave and a set of recommendations regarding which tools to use and how to most effectively configure them.

Trusted-CI has performed in-depth assessments for NSF projects in the past. In this engagement with Open OnDemand, we took a step forward as Trusted CI taught a group how to perform the assessment themselves. In general, the NSF community benefits from being able to carry out that kind of activity in an autonomous way.  In addition, the lessons in this engagement related to automated tools will benefit any NSF software project.

Open OnDemand Software Engineer, Jeff Ohrstrom, shared positive feedback regarding the value of the engagement, stating “The biggest takeaway for me was just getting muscle memory around security to start to think about attack vectors in every change, every commit, every time.”

Our findings and recommendations are summarized in our engagement report, which can be found here

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Trusted CI begins engagement with University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas has engaged with Trusted CI and the Engagement and Performance Operations Center (EPOC) to review their plans for a Science DMZ that will serve institutions for higher education across Arkansas. Trusted CI and EPOC will also help create training and policy materials that can be reused by other institutions both in the state of Arkansas and beyond.

Science DMZs are a secure architecture for providing high throughput transfer of science data between two points. By placing data transfer nodes outside each institution's cononical network and into a specially controlled zone, the Science DMZ is able to increase speed by reducing the friction created by firewalls, other traffic, and switches and routers that are tuned for more diverse traffic.

 The University of Arkansas via its Data Analytics that are Robust and Trusted (DART) project, is funded by NSF GRANT #194639 for EPSCoR RII.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Trusted CI Begins Engagement with Jupyter Security Coordinators

Project Jupyter is an open-source project which supports interactive data science and scientific computing across multiple programming languages. Project Jupyter has developed several interactive computing products including Jupyter Notebook, JupyterLab, and JupyterHub, which are used throughout the NSF community. This Trusted CI engagement is motivated by an upcoming Jupyter Security Best Practices Workshop funded by NumFOCUS as part of the Community Workshop series. The workshop is tentatively scheduled to be held April 2022 at the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

The goals of this engagement include the following tasks.

  • Review existing Jupyter deployment documentation related to security, identify gaps, and create recommendations for improvements.
  • Identify Jupyter deployment use-cases as targets for Jupyter Security Best Practices documentation. Example use-cases include DOE supercomputing centers, campus research clusters, workshops, small scientific projects, etc. Prioritize these use-cases based on which audiences would benefit most from new security documentation.
  • Write Jupyter Security Best Practices documentation for high priority use-cases identified above. Work through other use-cases as time permits.

The Jupyter Security Best Practices documentation produced by this engagement will be shared with Project Jupyter for inclusion in their documentation, and also presented at the workshop.

To read Jupyter's blog post about the engagement, click here.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Trusted CI Adopts Framework for its own Security Program

Trusted CI, the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, is pleased to announce that it has completed its adoption of the Trusted CI Framework for its own security program.  The previous security program, based off of Trusted CI’s Guide for Cybersecurity Programs for NSF Science and Engineering Projects, provided Trusted CI with a usable but basic security program. As Trusted CI has matured and its impact on the community expanded, we found our program was no longer adequate for our growing cybersecurity needs.  Thus, we began the process of rebuilding our program in order to strengthen our security posture.  

The release of Trusted CI’s Framework was independent of our effort to redress our security program, but serendipitously timed nonetheless.  We leveraged the Framework Implementation Guide (or FIG) -- instructions for cyberinfrastructure research operators -- to rebuild our security program based on the 4 Pillars and 16 Musts constituting the Trusted CI Framework.

The documents that form Trusted CI’s updated security program include the top-level Master Information Security Policies and Procedures (or MISPP), along with the support policies: Access Control Policy, Collaborator Information Policy, Document Labeling Policy, Incident Response Policy & Procedures, Information Classification Policy, Infrastructure Change Policy, and Onboarding / Offboarding Policy & Procedures.  Moreover, to track critical assets, asset owners for incident response, associated controls, and granted privilege escalations, the following “Asset Specific Access and Privilege Specifications”, or ASAPS were included: Apple (Podcasts), Badgr, Backup System (for G-Drive), Blogger, CloudPerm (G-Drive tool), DNS Registrar, GitHub, Group Service Account, IDEALS (@Illinois), Mailing Lists @Indiana), Slack, Twitter, YouTube, Website (SquareSpace), Zenodo, and Zoom.

The effort to adopt the Trusted CI Framework took ½ FTE over four months.