Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Announcing the 2023 Trusted CI Annual Challenge: Building Security Into NSF Major Facilities By Design

The Trusted CI Annual Challenge is a year-long project focusing on a cybersecurity topic of importance for scientific computing environments.  In its first year, the Trusted CI Annual Challenge focused on improving trustworthy data for open science.  In its second year, the Annual Challenge focused on software assurance in scientific computing.  In its third year, 2022, the Annual Challenge focused on the security of operational technology in science.  

The 2022 Annual Challenge on the Security of Operational Technology in NSF Scientific Research reinforced the notion that NSF Major Facilities, once constructed, can deploy operational technology that can have an operational lifetime of 15-30 years.  However, there are typically no cybersecurity requirements during acquisition and design.  In the 2023 Annual Challenge, Trusted CI staff will engage with NSF Major Facilities undergoing construction or refreshes in a hands-on way to build security into those Facilities from the outset.  Trusted CI will directly support the planning for facility refreshes and construction with respect to operational technology and will particularly focus on the academic maritime domain, including supporting the acceptance testing of the NSF-funded Research Class Research Vessels (RCRVs) at Oregon State University, supporting the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP)’s design of the Antarctic Research Vessel (ARV), and Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s design of the California Coastal Research Vessel (CCRV).

This year’s Annual Challenge is supported by a stellar team of Trusted CI staff, including Andrew Adams (Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center), Daniel Gunter (Berkeley Lab), Ryan Kiser (Indiana University), Mark Krenz (Indiana University), Michael Simpson (Indiana University), John Zage (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), and Sean Peisert (Berkeley Lab; 2023 Annual Challenge Project Lead).

Friday, January 13, 2023

Cyberinfrastructure Vulnerabilities 2022 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 by subscribing to Trusted CI's mailing list (see below).

We monitor a number of sources for vulnerabilities, then determine which ones are of critical interest to the CI community. While there are many cybersecurity issues reported in the news, we strive to alert on issues that affect the CI community in particular. These issues 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
  • the type and severity of a potential threat, e.g., remote code execution (RCE)
  • the threat's ability to be triggered remotely
  • the threat's ability to affect critical core functions
  • the availability of mitigations

For issues that warrant alerts to the Trusted CI mailing list, we also provide guidance on how operators and developers can reduce risks and mitigate threats. We coordinate with ACCESS, 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. Sources we monitor for possible threats to CI include the following:

In 2022 the Cyberinfrastructure Vulnerabilities team discussed 41 vulnerabilities and issued 29 alerts to 192 subscribers.

You can subscribe to Trusted CI's Cyberinfrastructure Vulnerability Alerts mailing list by sending email to . This mailing list is public and its archives are available at .

If you have information on a cyberinfrastructure vulnerability, let us know by sending email to .

Monday, January 9, 2023

Trusted CI Webinar: Improving the Security of Open-Source Software Infrastructure, January 23rd @11am EST

Gedare Bloom is presenting the talk, Improving the Security of Open-Source Software Infrastructure, January 23rd at 11am (Eastern).

Please register here.

Remote monitoring and control of industrial control systems are protected using firewalls and user passwords. Cyberattacks that get past firewalls have unfettered access to command industrial control systems with potential to harm digital assets, environmental resources, and humans in proximity to the compromised system. In this talk, I will discuss our approach to prevent and mitigate such harms in scientific industrial control systems by enhancing the security of open-source cyberinfrastructure: the open-source Real-Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems (RTEMS) real-time operating system and the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS) software and networks. The RTEMS and EPICS software projects are widely used cyberinfrastructure for controlling scientific instruments. This talk will discuss security problems that we have explored with these communities, and examine the salient challenges and opportunities presented by working with open-source communities on their cybersecurity needs.

Speaker Bio:

Gedare Bloom received his Ph.D. in computer science from The George Washington University in 2013. He joined the University of Colorado Colorado Springs as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in 2019 and Associate Professor in 2022. He was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Howard University from 2015-2019. His research expertise is computer system security with emphasis on real-time embedded systems. He has published over sixty peer reviewed articles, serves as a program committee member and technical referee for flagship conferences and journals, and is an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology.

Since 2011 Dr. Bloom has been a maintainer for the RTEMS open-source hard real-time operating system, which is used in robotics frameworks, unmanned vehicles, satellites and space probes, automotive, defense, building automation, medical devices, industrial controllers, and more. Some of his key contributions to RTEMS include the first 64-bit architectural port of RTEMS, design and implementation of a modern thread scheduling infrastructure, support for running RTEMS as a paravirtualized guest for avionics hypervisors, and implementation of POSIX services required to be compliant with the FACE avionics standard. Additionally, he mentors and guides students around the world through learning about and developing with RTEMS. He co-authored the textbook “Real-Time Systems Development with RTEMS and Multicore Processors” published by CRC Press in 2020.


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."