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Protecting earth science research

IU-led ResearchSOC providing data security services for international earth science facility

Security and privacy Sep 3, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.— The Geodetic Facility for the Advancement of Geoscience, or GAGE, is now using the services of the Indiana University-led Research Security Operations Center, or ResearchSOC, to help protect and detect threats to its instruments and data.

‘Precious data’

ResearchSOC experts will protect GAGE instruments such as this GPS antenna near Cape Spencer, Alaska. Photo credit: UNAVCO.

UNAVCO, a nonprofit, university-governed consortium, facilitates geoscience research and education using geodesy—the study of Earth’s shape, gravity field, and rotation. Since 2013, UNAVCO has operated the national Earth Science geodetic facility, known as GAGE, under an award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which includes core support from both NSF and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

A virtual center funded by the NSF, ResearchSOC distributes the research cybersecurity capabilities of IU, Duke University, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, and the University of California San Diego.

The GAGE facility supports cutting-edge geoscience discoveries, applications, and education with geodesy for broad societal benefit. GAGE provides the foundation and infrastructure to support research on every continent across a broad spectrum of geosciences.  

In today’s threat environment, researchers need to be confident that we are doing everything we can to ensure the integrity of their work.

Von Welch, project director for ResearchSOC and director of CACR

“The data that the GAGE Facility archives and shares for the scientific community are precious because they record how the Earth changes shape over time through a huge range of dynamic processes,” said Dr. Rebecca Bendick, UNAVCO president. “Information about the past state can never be re-measured if lost, so protecting this intellectual treasure is one of our most solemn responsibilities. Partnering with ResearchSOC ensures that we are using the most advanced and best practices for data security and stability.”

ResearchSOC capabilities include the 24 x 7 x 365 monitoring by OmniSOC, a shared cybersecurity operations center based at IU, and the Vulnerability Identification Service, the Shared Threat Intelligence for Network Gatekeeping and Automated Response, and services by IU’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR).

“The goal of ResearchSOC is to secure the integrity and reproducibility of highly valuable science research data,” said Von Welch, project director for ResearchSOC and director of CACR. “In today’s threat environment, researchers need to be confident that we are doing everything we can to ensure the integrity of their work.”

About ResearchSOC

The Research Security Operations Center (ResearchSOC) is a collaborative security response center that addresses the unique cybersecurity concerns of the research community. ResearchSOC helps make scientific computing resilient to cyberattacks and capable of supporting trustworthy, productive research. The ResearchSOC is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant 1840034. For more information on ResearchSOC, email


UNAVCO supports a community of scientists and educators working together to better understand Earth processes and hazards. For over 40 years, UNAVCO has evolved with technologies to collect and disseminate geodetic data. The UNAVCO community uses geodesy—the study of Earth’s size, shape, and gravity field—to understand Earth processes and help society become more resilient to natural hazards.


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