Kouper, Patil part of $4.9 million NSF grant to establish ResearchSOC

Inna Kouper
Inna Kouper

Researchers from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering are playing vital roles in the establishment of the Research Security Operations Center (ResearchSOC), a virtual center led by Indiana University and distributed across IU, Duke University, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and University of California San Diego.

ResearchSOC, which is funded by a $4.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will help provide the research and education community with the cybersecurity services, training, and information sharing necessary to make scientific computing resilient to cyberattacks. Inna Kouper, the interim director of SICE’s Data to Insight Center, is a co-principal investigator on the project, and Sameer Patil, an assistant professor at SICE, will serve as senior personnel.

“Indiana University continues to play a vital and leading role in improving network security in higher education by assisting in the mitigation of cyberthreats and vulnerabilities, improving awareness and enhancing communications through trusted information sharing communities,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. “This latest grant from the National Science Foundation further strengthens IU’s ability to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity and national security with our research, resources and partnerships.”

ResearchSOC will offer outreach and training to educate research project teams and the higher education information security community about cybersecurity. The diversity of research projects and their cyberinfrastructure, the highly collaborative nature of modern science, and the need for high-quality training and education in cybersecurity creates a series of challenges for cybersecurity. ResearchSOC will address these challenges through operational cybersecurity services tailored for research; a community of practice of threat intelligence for effective defense; outreach and training to the higher education information security community; and engagement with cybersecurity researchers and educators to advance research using the data from the ResearchSOC.

Kouper will lead the implementation of the fourth objective. ResearchSOC will provide an environment for sharing operational security data and develop a tiered model of access where full data becomes available for research and then, after redaction and anonymization, made publicly available for education and training. Patil and his students will serve as testers of the research access. Kouper and Patil’s contributions will also include documenting the data, surveying cybersecurity researchers to understand their needs in using operational data, and building awareness of the data and its potential.

“In addition to strengthening science cyberinfrastructure, this collaborative project will foster communities of practice and expand the sources of data needed for cybersecurity research,” Kouper said. “We will demonstrate that the right combination of technologies, policies, and human data stewardship can help overcome barriers to data sharing even in such restrictive areas as cybersecurity research.”

Von Welch, director of IU’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, is the principal investigator on the award.

“Research is increasingly conducted by international collaborations and virtual organizations using resources such as telescopes, microscopes, research computers and sensing devices -- all of which are vulnerable to attack yet challenge traditional cybersecurity programs,” Welch said. “ResearchSOC will tailor existing cybersecurity services and expertise from IU, Duke University, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and the University of California San Diego to the needs of the research and education community, strengthening the integrity and reliability of research data and products.”

For more information about security at SICE, visit our website.

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