NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

Cybersecurity Tutorial

Security Threats

The Threat Is Real and Significant

As you know, worms, viruses, bots, and hackers are a fact of life. At NERSC, we face all the threats that any business or home user faces, but there are some unique characteristics of our environment you should know about:

Our Network Supports Global Collaborations

To ensure that our researchers can collaborate effectively, whenever and however they need to, we operate a network that is accessible by users from various institutions in the international community. To safeguard the network, you must take special care to ensure that you follow appropriate NERSC and Department of Energy procedures and policies.

Attackers Target NERSC

Both because of our unique computing resources, and simply because we are a government institution, attackers target NERSC systems. In particular, smart attackers who have time and resources have been known to target our systems.

We Are Held to High Standards.

As a Department of Energy supercomputer center, we are held to a high standard of cybersecurity performance. It is critically important that we perform well, so that we can maintain the open computing environment we believe is central to our mission.

Why Would Anyone Care About My Computer?

Computers on the Internet are subject to attacks. There are thousands of worms and viruses that continuously attack indiscriminately. Furthermore, hackers are often simply after your computer as a stepping stone to launch more attacks against other computers, regardless of the information on the computer. The costs of cleaning up a computer security incident, the potential for lost information, and lost productive work time are significant. Also, because our systems are interconnected, the infiltration of one computer significantly increases the potential for successful attacks against other computers connected to the network. Taking reasonable precautions protects all these people, not just you.