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Student Technical Paper
Technical Paper
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SciTokens: Capability-Based Secure Access to Remote Scientific Data
Event Type
Student Technical Paper
Technical Paper
Facilitation Tags
Facilitation
Data
IDM
Technical Paper Tags
Technical Paper
Student Technical Paper
TimeWednesday, July 2511:15am - 11:30am
DescriptionThe management of security credentials (e.g., passwords, secret keys) for computational science workflows is a burden for scientists and information security officers. Problems with credentials (e.g., expiration, privilege mismatch) cause workflows to fail to fetch needed input data or store valuable scientific results, distracting scientists from their research by requiring them to diagnose the problems, re-run their computations, and wait longer for their results. In this paper, we introduce SciTokens, open source software to help scientists manage their security credentials more reliably and securely. We describe the SciTokens system architecture, implementation design, and initial experimental deployment results to address use cases from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) projects. We also present our integration with widely-used software that supports distributed scientific computing, including HTCondor, CVMFS, and XrootD. SciTokens uses IETF-standard OAuth tokens for capability-based secure access to remote scientific data. The access tokens convey the specific authorizations needed by the workflows, rather than general-purpose authentication impersonation credentials, to address the risks of scientific workflows running on distributed infrastructure including NSF resources (e.g., LIGO Data Grid, Open Science Grid, XSEDE) and public clouds (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure). By improving the interoperability and security of scientific workflows, SciTokens 1) enables use of distributed computing for scientific domains that require greater data protection and 2) enables use of more widely distributed computing resources by reducing the risk of credential abuse on remote systems.