In mid-April, West Virginia College college students got the chance to take part in a world, multi-agency cyber competitors, Locked Shields. This out-of-classroom train enabled college students to make use of the talents they’ve realized in every thing from engineering to cybersecurity, media and regulation in some of the advanced, technical, live-fire challenges on the earth.
The cyber protection train concerned 33 West Virginia Nationwide Guardsmen, Protection Data Methods Company workers, Illinois Nationwide Guardsmen and WVU college students who partnered with Polish allies. Greater than 1,200 specialists from practically 30 nations participated in Locked Shields.
Along with data from their programs of research, WVU college students introduced expertise and classes realized from participation in previous cyber workout routines to the competitors. However, additionally they realized a couple of new issues.
“The opposite college students and I have been apprehensive going into the occasion as a result of we had by no means met any of the guard members in particular person, however they welcomed us and made us really feel like a part of their group,” laptop science main Heather Fetty stated.
Katilyn Hepler, additionally a pc science main from the Benjamin M. Statler Faculty of Engineering and Mineral Assets, echoed the emphasis on teamwork.
“Not solely did I achieve extra cybersecurity data by way of Locked Shields, however I additionally additional developed my teamwork expertise by studying how one can collaborate with a group in a really brief time frame,” Hepler stated.
“The train itself uncovered me to methods, instruments and different methods of combating assaults on our methods that propelled me to study much more exterior of my courses,” laptop science main Jonathan Malcomb stated.
Twenty-two pleasant protection Blue Groups competed to defend a fictional nation in the course of the multi-day occasion.
The West Virginia Nationwide Guard – DISA Mission Assurance –Cyber members have been part of a joint group led by Poland and included further Nationwide Guard members supporting the occasion each within the train and real-world capacities.
Members have been graded on how nicely they protected their networks whereas following the established guidelines of engagement for gameplay. Authorized specialists, cyber risk analysts and public affairs specialists –all college students –joined the group to supply insights on varied features of the simulation.
Abigail Riggs, a junior public relations scholar within the WVU Reed Faculty of Media, took a course in disaster communication led by assistant professor Julia Daisy Fraustino, who related Riggs with the Locked Shields competitors.
“This was my first out-of-classroom expertise with disaster and threat communication, and though it was a simulation, the occasion felt real-world,” Riggs stated. “I realized rather a lot about disaster messaging from my media associate, Captain Gault, and I used to be in a position to observe utilizing my very own data as a scholar to assist information the general public throughout a hectic occasion.”
Ashman Dodd is a graduate scholar incomes his MS in Enterprise Cybersecurity Administration totally on-line within the John Chambers Faculty of Enterprise and Economics. He additionally holds a full-time job with CACI Worldwide, Inc., an organization that gives experience and expertise to enterprise and mission prospects in help of nationwide safety missions and authorities transformation for protection, intelligence and civilian prospects.
Given the alignment together with his skilled expertise, Dodd was fast to say sure when requested to take part by Administration Data Methods Instructing Assistant Professor Chris Ramezan.
“This was an unforgettable expertise that strengthened the significance of coordination, cooperation, data and expertise between civilian and army specialists of the NATO alliance in supporting the nation’s crucial infrastructure,” Dodd stated. “The hands-on expertise goes above and past what any video or lesson can provide. I can’t wait to assist future college students practice for this train.”
And this chance held particular that means for second-year Faculty of Regulation scholar Dayton Meadows.
“As a former United States Marine, I’ve at all times had a need to serve my nation,” Meadows stated. “I used to be honored by the chance to signify my nation and help the Nationwide Guard on the worldwide stage.”
This train is a working proof of idea of the newly fashioned partnership between WVU, the WVNG and DISA, cast after conferences between senior leaders of all three entities in December, 2020.
“It was a extremely, actually nice expertise,” stated Workers Sgt. Paul Coffy, train lead and lead cybersecurity analyst for the WVNG DISA MA-C group. “Sooner or later, what we need to do is create a partnership between the three entities – the West Virginia Nationwide Guard, DISA and WVU – to create coaching environments to arrange for issues like [the exercise]. We wish to have the ability to construction this relationship for the betterment of the state of West Virginia and the development of nationwide cybersecurity resiliency.”