Building Cyber Defense Training Capacity
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As society advances in terms of information technology, the dependency on cyber secure systems increases. Likewise, the need to enhance both the quality and relevance of education, training, and professional development for cybersecurity defenders increases proportionately. Without a continued supply of capable cyber defenders that can come to the challenge well-prepared and continuously advance their skills, the reliability and thus the value of information technology systems will be compromised to the point that new information-driven societal structures in commerce, banking, education, infrastructure, and others across the globe would be put be at risk.The body of research presented here provides a progressive building of capacity to support information technology, cybersecurity, and cyber defense training efforts. The work starts by designing infrastructure virtualization methods and problem modeling, then advances to creating and testing tunable models for both technical and social-psychological support capabilities. The initial research was designed to increase the capacity of Regis University in education simulations and cyber competitions. As this was achieved the goals evolved to include developing effective multi-agency cyber defense exercises for government and private sector participants. The research developing hands-on computer laboratory infrastructure presents novel methods for enhancing the delivery of training and cyber competition resources. The multi-method virtualization model describes a strategy for analyzing a broad range of virtualization services for making agile cyber competition, training, and laboratory spaces that are the technical underpinning of the effort. The work adapts the agile development method SCRUM for producing training events with limited resources. Parallel to agile training systems provisioning, the research includes designing a 3D virtual world avatar-based resource to help students develop spatial skills associated with physical security auditing. It consists of a virtual world datacenter and training program. The second category of contributions includes the presentation of new models for analyzing complex concepts in cybersecurity. These models provide students with tools that allow them to map out newly acquired skills and understanding within a larger context. One model maps how classical security challenges change as digital technologies are introduced using a concept called “bit induction.” The other model maps out how technology can affect one’s sense of identity, and how to manage its disruption. The third area of contribution includes a rapid form of psychometric feedback, a customized quantitative longitudinal capability assessments, and an agile framework that is an extension of the earlier agile method adaptations.The most recent category of contribution extends the training analysis to analyzing the resultant training capabilities and providing new models to describe live operation using operational load analysis to describe characteristic behaviors along an incident timeline.The results of this research include novel cybersecurity frameworks, analytical methods, and education deployment models along with interpretation and documented implementation to support education institutions in meeting the emerging risks of society. Specific contributions include new models for understanding the disruptiveness of cyberattacks,models for agilely and virtually deploying immersive hands-on laboratory experiences, and interdisciplinary approaches to education that meet new psycho-sociological challenges in cyber defense. These contributions extend the forefront of Cybersecurity education and training in a coordinated way to contribute to the effectiveness and relevance of education solutions as society’s cybersecurity needs evolve.