Focus on Linux
Survey on Supercomputer Cluster Security May 24 2007 10:11PM
cluster security gmail com
To Cluster System Administrators:

Our University has done some classified DoD work on various Beowulf

clusters. As a result, we have gotten interested in the questions of

securing supercomputer clusters. In particular, we are especially

interested in better understanding the nature of the threats against

supercomputer clusters, and the extent to which security measures are

implemented . It would help us greatly if you would answer a few

questions on this subject. Feel free to not answer any question that

you do not wish to answer. Just select the no answer selection. A

complete list of questions and possible answers are listed below in

text form.

If there are several system administrators for your cluster(s), please

ensure that your group submits only one survey per cluster.

You can answer the questions interactively at our website (our

preferred method), by e-mail, by fax, and by regular mail. To answer

on the web, please go to

http://www.cs.umaine.edu/~markov/clustersurvey/survey.html

and login with

login ClusterSurvey

password S3cur3Qu3st

The login is just to keep random visitors to the website from filling

out the questionnaire. The web questionnaire will only be available

until June 1, 2007.

There are two options when if you choose to by e-mail, fax, or regular

mail. First, you can download a PDF version of the questionnaire from

a link on the webpage referenced above. This is an interactive PDF

file that permits you to answer the questions in the form providing

you are using a new enough version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (Version 8

recommended). You can either print out the results and fax them or

mail them, or you can e-mail the file or just the answers by hitting

the e-mail button in the form. Alternatively, you can answer the

questions on the form below and either e-mail it back or print out the

results and fax or e-mail them back.

If you wish to fax your answers, please fax them to 207-866-3050,

which is a secure fax.

We will collect whatever data we receive and organize the results.

These results will be available on the web using the URL above

starting July 15, 2007 in case you are interested.

All data will be aggregated and in no way will we identify any

respondents -- my goal is to have some general numbers and percentages

that can help us better understand who is trying to crack into

supercomputers and why.

If you know of other people who would be interested

in the results or would be interested in providing data, please feel

free to send them a copy of this letter.

Sincerely yours,

George Markowsky, Professor

Department of Computer Science

5752 Neville Hall

University of Maine

Orono, ME 04469-5752

QUESTIONNAIRE

1. How frequently are your supercomputer clusters attacked relative to

any desktops that might be in your laboratories?

More Frequently

About the Same Frequency

Less Frequently

No Answer

2. How sophisticated are the attacks against your clusters compared to

the attacks against any desktops that might be in your laboratories?

More Sophisticated

About the Same Level of Sophistication

Less Sophisticated

No Answer

3. Are there any IP addresses that regularly try to break into your

cluster?

Yes

No

Not Sure

No Answer

4. Has anyone ever tried a man-in-the-middle type of attack against

any of your clusters?

Yes

No

Not Sure

No Answer

5. Have you ever been attacked from foreign IP addresses?

Yes

No

Not Sure

No Answer

6. Have your clusters ever been attacked by foreign interests?

Yes

No

Not Sure

No Answer

7. Has anyone ever tried a physical approach to either disrupt a

computation or to steal data?

Yes

No

Not Sure

No Answer

8. Has anyone ever tried to bribe or otherwise co-opt one of the

cluster staff into helping with compromising the security?

Yes

No

Not Sure

No Answer

9. How many times has security been breached on one of your

supercomputer clusters over the past three years that resulted in

either downtime or lost data?

11 or more

6-10

2-5

1

0

Not Sure

No Answer

10. Does your center have a person whose primary responsibility is

cluster security?

Yes

No

Not Sure

No Answer

11. Do you run an intrusion detection system on your clusters?

Yes, on all

No, not on any

Mixed, on some and not on others

Not Sure

No Answer

12. How often do you check for rootkits?

Multiple Times a Day

Daily

Weekly

Monthly

Annually

Not at all

Not Sure

No Answer

13. How often do you run backups on your clusters?

Multiple Times a Day

Daily

Weekly

Monthly

Annually

Not at all

Not Sure

No Answer

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