Security and Privacy Heterogeneous Environment for Reproducible Experimentation



We are running a survey to learn about researcher needs around cybersecurity and privacy experimentation. Your feedback will inform our future endeavors in supporting cybersecurity experimentation through our recently funded SPHERE research infrastructure. We want to hear from a wide range of researchers, no experience is too small. Please use the Google form at to provide your feedback. This should take no more than five minutes. The form has six open-ended questions, it is anonymous and you can skip any questions.



Cybersecurity and privacy threats increasingly impact our daily lives, our national infrastructures, and our industry. Recent newsworthy attacks targeted nationally important infrastructure, our government, our nuclear facilities, our researchers, and research facilities. The landscape of what needs to be protected and from what threats is continuously evolving: new technologies are released and the threat actors improve their own capabilities through experience and close collaboration. Meanwhile, defenders often work in isolation, using private data and facilities, and producing defenses that are quickly outpaced by new threats. To transform cybersecurity and privacy research into a highly integrated, community-wide effort, researchers need a common, rich, representative research infrastructure that meets the needs across all members of the research community, and facilitates reproducible science.

To meet researcher needs, USC Information Sciences Institute and Northeastern University have been funded by the NSF mid-scale research infrastructure program to build Security and Privacy Heterogeneous Environment for Reproducible Experimentation (SPHERE). This research infrastructure will offer access to an unprecedented variety of hardware, software, and other resources, all relevant to cybersecurity and privacy research, connected by user-configurable network substrate, and protected by a set of security policies uniquely aligned with cybersecurity and privacy research needs. SPHERE will offer six user portals, closely aligned with needs of different user groups, facilitating widespread adoption. It will provide built-in support for reproducibility, via easy experiment packaging, sharing, and reuse. SPHERE will build a process, a standard, and incentives for community-wide efforts to develop representative experimentation environments for cybersecurity and privacy research, and to continuously contribute high-quality research artifacts.