Cern seeks to tighten security for data grid


6 June 2006

Cern, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and birthplace of the web, is starting a two-year project to improve security for its worldwide data grid.

The European organisation for nuclear research identified that partner sites on the grid are a security concern; many are open access public institutions supporting the lab’s projects.

Cern tests innovative technologies in partnership with industry, and has asked security specialists Stonesoft and F-Secure to test security for the launch of the large hadron collider (LHC) project next year.




The 27km underground particle accelerator will distribute large amounts of information onto the worldwide LHC computing grid. More than 1Gb per second of data will be generated and either stored at Cern or sent to 12 major computing sites and a further 100 institutes around the world for analysis.

“The results of the security trials may provide solutions which could eventually be commercially available to other organisations,” said Cern spokesman Francois Grey.

Although large data grids are only starting to be used in business, Cern is seeing a lot of interest from industry. The lab is developing grids that will reach across organisational boundaries, allowing multiple institutions to share resources.

“‘Businesses are now becoming interested in this kind of grid,” said Grey. “Its use could enable suppliers and companies to share resources and large corporations to share information between business units. Grid technology will only be adopted if the right type of security solutions are available.”

The aim of the LHC is to simulate the events taking place one millionth of a millionth of a second after the universe was created – information that could revolutionise our understanding of how the natural world works.

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