Monday, January 4, 2021

Cyberinfrastructure Vulnerabilities 2020 Annual Report

The Cyberinfrastructure Vulnerabilities team provides concise announcements on critical vulnerabilities that affect science cyberinfrastructure (CI) of research and education centers, including those threats which may impact scientific instruments. This service is freely available to all by subscribing to Trusted CI’s mailing lists (see below).

We monitor a number of sources for software vulnerabilities of interest, then determine which ones are of the most critical interest to the community. While it’s easy to identify issues that have piqued the public news cycle, we strive to alert on issues that affect the CI community in particular. These are identified using the following criteria: the affected technology’s or software’s pervasiveness in the CI community; the technology’s or software’s importance to the CI community; type and severity of potential threat, e.g., remote code execution; the threat’s ability to be remotely triggered; the threat’s ability to affect critical core functions; and if mitigation is available. For those issues which warrant alerts to the Trusted CI mailing lists, we also provide guidance on how operators and developers can reduce risks and mitigate threats. We coordinate with XSEDE, Open Science Grid (OSG), the NSF supercomputing centers, and the ResearchSOC on drafting and distributing alerts to minimize duplication of effort and maximize benefit from community expertise. Some of the sources we monitor for possible threats to CI include:

OpenSSL and OpenSSH

US-CERT advisories

XSEDE announcements

RHEL/EPEL advisories

REN-ISAC Alerts and Advisories

Social media, such as Twitter, and Reddit (/r/netsec and /r/security)

News sources, such as The Hacker News, Threatpost, The Register, Naked Security, Slashdot, Krebs, SANS Internet Storm Center and Schneier

In 2020 the Cyberinfrastructure Vulnerabilities team discussed 50 vulnerabilities and issued 22 alerts to 158 subscribers.  Additionally, the team solicited the community with a survey to gauge the team’s impact; 87% of the respondents said that the alerts were relevant to their science mission, would recommend the services to peers, and all participants thought the alerts were concise.

If you wish to subscribe to the Cyberinfrastructure Vulnerability Alerts mailing list you may do so through This mailing list is public and the archives are available at

If you believe you have information on a cyberinfrastructure vulnerability, let us know by sending us an email at