Army cyber protection teams upgrade training with a 'real' city

A task force from the Army cyber protection teams face off against industrial control systems in a week-long cyber training exercise.

Indiana National Guard's Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Ind.
 

Army cyber teams will face off against industrial control systems at Indiana National Guard's Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Ind.


The Army's cyber protection teams are upgrading their training program to include a real-life, round-the-clock, cyberattack on a city port.

"There's a dearth of realistic training venues," John Nix, director of federal for SANS Institute, told FCW. "There are lots of cyber ranges, but they don't have those rich training scenarios where you have an adversary that is being emulated -- a real advanced persistent threat -- and they bang away at the Cyber Protection Teams."

A task force comprised of two CPTs will endure a weeklong, 24-hour-a-day training exercise, called the SANS Cyber Situational Training Exercise (Cyber STX), at the Indiana National Guard's Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Butlerville, Ind., starting Aug. 20.

While far from the Army cyber team's first cyber training exercise, this is the first with a full-scale cityscape. The 45-acre facility offers typical metropolitan trappings, physical and cyber infrastructures and control systems -- water facilities, a prison, hospital and traffic lights. There's also an electronic warfare component, restricted airspace, and human interference, such as web queries, social media and email that teams must wade through to fulfill the mission.

"It's going to be where cyber connectivity and kinetic activity meet," said Ed Skoudis, co-founder at Counter Hacker and a SANS Institute fellow. He said the exercise's overall scenario involves hackers trying to gain control of construction cranes control systems to damage a city port.

Earlier versions of the exercise lacked industrial control systems. "This is the first real opportunity to exercise that cyber-physical in the similar environment as our nation's critical infrastructure," Nix said.

John Womble, Army Cyber Protection Brigade training officer in Ft. Gordon, Ga., said the training exercise will be used as an evaluation tool to test if cyber operators are ready for combat. If all goes well, the exercise will create opportunity for the Army to expand beyond SCADA systems and simulate other network breaches, including election systems, power grids, and company networks.

The task force will face cyber challenges around the clock, Womble said, because "the enemy doesn't go to sleep so we can relax, so we have to train for that."

Womble couldn't disclose how many operators were on each team, but said the Army's goal is to push about 12 teams or two task forces through this training process each year going forward.

The goal is to get real-world feedback that gets operators "comfortable being uncomfortable" so they can "maneuver around different adversaries," Womble said, without naming the specific adversarial threats.

"If we can understand all the different possibilities in ways to gain access to the network, we can better protect the network," he added.

The exercise is the last for fiscal 2018 but Womble plans to do more in 2019 -- if the budget allows.

"If we have a budget for FY19, we're on a continuing resolution right now, so if everything goes well, hopefully, we'll have a budget" to do more, he said.

NEXT STORY: The disinformation game

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.