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GCN : June 2014
Range offers two distinct types of classes with exercises that can be performed in Alphaville. The first is a Red versus Blue scenario in which two teams are pitted against one another. One team uses the latest attack techniques to try and do as much damage to Alphaville as possible, while the other team attempts to defend the town. A Paintball exercise has multiple teams attacking the town in an attempt to secure a beacon within a critical system, fortify it and move on in a capture-the-flag type of scenario. This not only trains students to think like hackers, but it also teaches them how to outfox the enemy, using tech- niques like following a network intruder to learn his technique and attacking only after gathering valuable intelligence. At a ribbon cutting ceremony in March, the expansion of the range onto the grounds of the 100th Airlift Wing Na- tional Guard Base was celebrated with a major cybersecurity warfare effort that pitted teams in Michigan against both the California National Guard and students at the West Point Military Academy for con- trol of the town. Gov. Snyder attended the event to see how that arm of the state's Cyber Initia- tive was proceeding. "Most people won't recognize the value of what's being done today. It is not a crisis yet," Snyder said. "Let's not be on the defensive. Let's make sure we have that defense in place when it's needed." The range is in the process of bringing a new computer forensics class online. In that exercise, an attack has already taken place, and the teams are tasked with find- ing out how the hacker got into the net- work, discovering what if anything was left behind, sealing gaps so that systems can no longer be exploited and uncover- ing clues as to the identity of the perpetra- tor. The town of Alphaville is also expand- ing. Adams says that a virtual hospital is in the works, where students can learn the intricacies of working with HIPAA- protected health information. In a way, Adams is a bit like the mayor of that fictional town, and he's pleased when it can be used to improve cybersecurity across the country, especially in critical in- frastructures, which are often overlooked and guarded by civilians. "We are trying to train across industry, so more people can be aware," he said. "This is another opportunity for Michigan to set a high standard for cybersecurity training inside the state, across the nation and with our international partners." • GCN JUNE 2014 • GCN.COM 31 Alphaville is designed to be just like a real town in terms of its cyber infrastructure and how buildings and organizations are networked. Its centerpiece is the Alphaville Power and Electric Company, where a realistic infrastructure is in place that allows students to see how power grids are con gured and managed, from the generating plant to substations and down into individual homes. Inside those structures, unique protocols, vulnerabilities and security challenges are demonstrated, including requirements for how to secure a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) environment, replete with sensors, human-machine interfaces and corporate networks. This is tied into a 3-D world generator so that students can see the consequences of their actions as if they were looking in on a real town. "If something happens to take down the power grid, the students can actually see the lights go off in town and the citizens walking around in the dark," said Joe Adams, the director of the Cyber Range. The K-12 school network, on a Web-accessible server farm, features classrooms and computer labs, staff email, human resources applications and personal information about students. Alphaville's public library has an online card catalog and asset management system in addition to publically available workstations. The Alphaville city hall features a public-facing website, a secure portal for authorized users and an internal network with legal documents, personal information and other sensitive material. There's even a small retail business called Zenda, Inc. Each location is created using virtual machines set to a designated security level, giving students a chance to see how information systems are connected. Most of the government buildings are linked through a town network, demonstrating that a hack into a low security installation like a school could act as a backdoor to the city hall network using spoofed or captured credentials. Inside Alphaville's IT infrastructure