Delivering Real-World Experience with Cyber Simulations
Created May 2019
As technology changes, the current cyber workforce must find ways to evolve to meet new threats and challenges. To help develop the elite skills that cyber teams need to safeguard networks and assets, the Cyber Workforce Development team at the SEI builds realistic simulations that model the experience of real-world challenges. These simulations offer more than just quality content; they offer cyber operators a way to familiarize themselves with the pace and pressure of real scenarios, what it takes to perform well under those conditions, and how to succeed as a team.
Is My Cyber-Team Training Good Enough?
In the field of cybersecurity, your organization must always ask if its cyber teams are equipped to handle new and evolving threats that arise through the innovative and tireless work of attackers. These malicious agents are always looking for new ways to gain the upper hand by developing new methods to remain undetected. How can you prepare to defend against attackers that are always working to find new and unexpected ways to attack networks?
If cyber teams learn to work together and gain experience under pressure only when they begin defending against real threats, then we are giving attackers the upper hand. Training and exercises are key for preparing cyber operators to work together effectively, but how can you know that your training is good enough to meet today’s challenges?
Training often focuses on teaching cyber operators how to use the tools at their disposal, but to be truly effective, cyber operators must learn to use those tools under the pressures of real environments to develop elite skill sets. To create training that puts cyber operators in environments with those kinds of pressures, simulations must replicate the social and technical interactions that cyber teams face every day. More, these simulations must teach cyber operators to work together and bolster their sense of teamwork and confidence.
The problem is that these kinds of simulations are difficult to create, which leaves organizations without ready access to collective training that is engaging and effective. Some organizations rely on one or several contractors to build the pieces of those simulations, leading to exercises and training that feel cobbled together without a unified experience that targets training objectives or builds elite skills.
Simulations That Build Elite Teams
The SEI creates realistic simulations and builds unified exercises that train your cyber operators to become seasoned and elite teams. The SEI’s approach delivers the complete cyber-defense experience, from populating the simulated world with realistic content, NPCs, scenarios, and stories, to maintaining a seamlessness between all components as well as complete control of the experience throughout the exercise.
Our simulations deliver culminating training events that bring together individuals and teams in live-fire exercises that reinforce and validate understanding of key objectives. We create hands-on training exercises that are injected with real-world threats so that cyber teams can effectively train and learn best practices for cyber professionals. Scenario developers model the targeted network and simulate the expected network traffic patterns in order to produce a realistic rehearsal. During the rehearsal, the team becomes familiar with the target, sharpens their team capabilities, and expands their overall proficiency.
We can work with your organization either onsite or virtually to help you put together the right kind of training engagement that will improve the performance of your cyber program and teams. By capturing the right level of realism, our frameworks deliver an experience that you can’t get with traditional training programs. We can help your cyber teams gain experience that is as close to real world as possible and ensure they are performing at the highest levels. Our simulations will build your confidence knowing that your teams can prioritize actions when pressure increases, and that each member can work effectively together.
Contact us to discuss our simulations.
Challenge Development Guidelines for Cybersecurity Competitions
October 27, 2022 Technical Report
Jarrett BoozLeena AroraJoseph Vessella
This paper draws on the SEI’s experience to provide general-purpose guidelines and best practices for developing effective cybersecurity challenges.read
ML-Driven Decision-Making in Realistic Cyber Exercises
October 20, 2022 Podcast
Dustin D. UpdykeThomas G. Podnar
Thomas Podnar and Dustin Updyke discuss efforts by the SEI CERT Division to apply machine learning to increase the realism of non-player characters (NPCs) in cyber training exercises.learn more
Using Open Source to Shrink the Cyber Workforce Gap
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In this webcast, Matt Kaar and Jarrett Booz discuss open source initiatives that bring innovative ideas to cybersecurity modeling and simulation.watch
Using Machine Learning to Increase the Fidelity of Non-Player Characters in Training Simulations
April 11, 2022 Blog Post
Dustin Updyke, Thomas Podnar, Geoffrey Dobson, John Yarger
Use of machine-learning (ML) modeling and a suite of software tools to create decision-making preferences that make non-player characters (NPCs) more realistic in...read
CWD Tools for Improving Cyber Simulations
February 01, 2020 Collection
Download the open source software tools that the SEI developed to create realistic cyber simulations or access information to learn more about each one.view
R-EACTR: A Framework for Designing Realistic Cyber Warfare Exercises (Video)
May 13, 2019 Video
The Realistic – Environment, Adversary, Communications, Tactics, and Roles (R-EACTR) Framework is our way of developing and delivering highly engaging cyber team exercises.watch
GHOSTS in the Machine: A Framework for Cyber-Warfare Exercise NPC Simulation
December 03, 2018 Technical Report
Dustin D. UpdykeGeoffrey B. DobsonThomas G. Podnar
This report outlines how the GHOSTS (General HOSTS) framework helps create realism in cyber-warfare simulations and discusses how it was used in a case study.read
R-EACTR: A Framework for Designing Realistic Cyber Warfare Exercises
September 29, 2017 Technical Report
Geoffrey B. DobsonThomas G. PodnarAdam D. Cerini
R-EACTR is a design framework for cyber warfare exercises. It ensures that designs of team-based exercises factor realism into all aspects of the participant experience.read
Research to Operations: Exercise and Simulation Platforms
January 03, 2017 Video
Research to Operations: Exercise and Simulation Platforms by Jeffrey Mattsonwatch
SEI Cyber Minute: Cyber and Kinetic Warfighter Training
August 03, 2016 Video
Rotem D. Guttman
Rotem Guttman discusses "Cyber and Kinetic Warfighter Training."watch