Leading IU to help drive discovery

2020 saw CACR providing new opportunities and facilitating key projects to further the university’s research mission while serving as a key force in achieving IU’s strategic objectives.

Fulfilling IU’s strategic plan

CACR continued to meet the challenge presented in IU’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan to “facilitate university-industry collaboration by identifying opportunities to work in areas such as cybersecurity with Indiana defense-related institutions like NSWC Crane and the Indiana National Guard.” The center did so through the growth and maintenance of key partnerships and the completion of key projects, such as the PACT assessment provided to the Port of Virginia. 

SecureMyResearch: Safer data, greater breakthroughs

The 2020 SecureMyResearch effort provided IU researchers with consulting and resources to help them protect research data and comply with cybersecurity requirements in grants, contracts, and data use agreements. In 2020, SecureMyResearch conducted over 90 engagements, facilitating over $31 million in research projects. Securing research data, especially meeting new, stricter regulatory and other cybersecurity requirements, is becoming a challenge for both IU researchers and campus units that support research. To help them navigate this complex landscape, CACR, University Information Technology Services (UITS) Research Technologies, and Information Security within the IU Office of the Vice President for Information Technology are partnering to reduce the cybersecurity burden on researchers while enabling improved cybersecurity for IU research projects. SecureMyResearch leveraged the combined expertise of IU’s cybersecurity and compliance experts to weave data security and compliance into the institutional fabric, enhancing both regulated and unregulated data security with a new, workflow-based security framework developed by CACR. 

Enabling secure health research

In 2020, CACR continued to facilitate the HIPAA compliance effort for UITS. CACR worked with eight new UITS systems and brought seven to completion, passing a rigorous institutional approval process that CACR helped develop. The program leverages the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) and NIST 800-53 controls for comprehensivity and provides a single, reusable process for HIPAA and FISMA.

Protecting the (virtual) exchange of ideas

Student and faculty group meetings that moved online in response to the pandemic were subject to disruptive, crude, and malicious interference of their Zoom meetings—a practice known as Zoombombing. CACR led a collaborative outreach effort in response to multiple high-profile Zoombombing incidents at IU, providing proactive training for groups hosting publicly posted meetings. Work was done to publish, consolidate, and update information throughout IU on combating Zoombombing. This information was linked to in mass communications and provided directly to groups identified in outreach efforts. Direct outreach was provided to
43 groups at IU, including student groups and schools/departments.

Leading collaboration across IU

CACR’s collaboration within PTI allows it to impact research computing broadly. CACR’s awards continue to build collaborations across IU. The ResearchSOC award pulls together IU operational cybersecurity expertise with faculty from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. The Scientific Workflow Integrity with Pegasus (SWIP) project draws on Luddy’s cybersecurity expertise. The PACT project draws on the expertise from the School of Education. CACR’s Fellows program reaches across five IU schools, IUPUI, and beyond.

CACR Fellows

CACR Fellows represent a wide range of perspectives across IU and beyond. The following is a list of groups represented and the number of fellows participating from each group.

  • IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering: 5
  • IU Maurer School of Law: 4
  • IU Kelley School of Business: 1
  • IU School of Education: 1
  • IU Department of Linguistics: 1
  • IUPUI: 3
  • NSWC Crane: 1
  • Other IU: 1
  • Private sector: 3

Facilitating new workforce development programs with CyberCorps

CACR played a key role in supporting IU’s successful receipt of a $2.25M CyberCorps student scholarship program. CyberCorps is designed to recruit and train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals to meet the needs of federal, state, local, and tribal governments. The program provides scholarships for cybersecurity undergraduate and graduate (MS or PhD) education funded through grants awarded by the NSF. Plans for CACR CyberCorps internship opportunities in 2021 are in development. 

Providing for-credit opportunities for Maurer students

Initiated in 2018 as a collaboration between CACR and the IU Maurer School of Law, the CACR-Maurer Student Affiliates program provides law students pursuing the Maurer Cybersecurity Certificate opportunities to work with CACR’s legal experts for a semester, receiving one credit. The students’ research topics impact cybersecurity and/or privacy law, and develop deliverables (e.g., memos, whitepapers, presentations). Topics have included: the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA); export control law as applied to research science; and privacy concerns relating to artificial intelligence.

2020 CACR Speaker Series

The CACR Speaker Series brings cybersecurity experts from across the nation to present their current research and real-world experiences to IU faculty, staff, and students. This year’s series continued virtually. These presentations can yield some exciting collaborations that bring together faculty researchers, students, and even professionals from the private sector. Average attendance (both live and online) for 2020 was 110 participants per event.

CACR thanks its partners and co-hosts: Center of Excellence for Women & Technology; Kelley School of Business; Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering; Maurer School of Law; and Ostrom Workshop.


IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research 2020 Annual Report Copyright © by Indiana University. All Rights Reserved.

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