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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Cybersecurity Platform Learns from the Student to Provide Customized Training

Indra is working with the Carlos III University of Madrid to equip its Minsait Cyber Range training platform with the ability to automatically generate programs adapted to each student’s cybersecurity knowledge and learning speed.

The project, which will also enable the platform to adjust scenarios to the real problems each student may face in their organization or company, is thought to be the first mainly practical mass training platform that can be adjusted to specific needs.

Countries and organizations worldwide face a growing challenge to quickly and effectively train the huge number of experts that need to protect themselves from more and more frequent and sophisticated cyber attacks. In addition to training a whole new generation of experts, these countries need to offer ongoing training to active professionals, which results in an ever-increasing demand. Next year, an estimated two million jobs will be vacant in this sector worldwide, according to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

Last year more than 1,000 professionals from the armed forces, security forces, official organizations, universities and companies from 50 countries trained using Minsait. Indra’s project with the Carlos III University of Madrid will now provide it with more intelligence so that it can analyze, in a completely autonomous way and in real time, the skills and knowledge of each student. It will also take into account the level that they must reach, the type of organization they work in and the area of ​​attack that they must defend, among other factors.

Minsait Cyber ​​Range will be adapted to the NICE framework developed by the United States’ National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A framework has been published recently that catalogues the different cybersecurity work functions, defining categories and areas of specialization and identifying for each of them the knowledge, skills and competencies required. It is an initiative in which the U.S. administration, in collaboration with companies and universities, has invested more than a decade of work.

The improvements that Minsait is incorporating into its platform will mark a before-and-after in the way of conceiving practical training in cybersecurity. The content will be structured and adapted dynamically to each student, without the need for an instructor’s intervention. The realism of the exercises will be greater and the presence of human instructors or adversaries will be optional. To this effect, the solution will generate network traffic, either synthetic or replicated, and will automate the adversary’s actions, be it a defender (if training attack) or an attacker (if training defense).

It also automates real-time monitoring and supervision of student performance and actions, to be able to evaluate how they perform. The system will also provide aid proactively when it deems appropriate, without waiting for the student to ask for it. Finally, it will have tools to automatically compose new exercises based on a catalogue of prior knowledge and the professional’s specific needs.

Minsait Cyber Range has been used in different CyberCamps organized by the Spanish National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE). It was also used in the exercise that took place at the Autonomous University of Madrid in which university students, experts from the Civil Guard, the Joint Cyber-Defense Force and INCIBE participated. The platform was also used in the Cyber Perseu, the National Cybersecurity Exercise, promoted by the Portuguese Army, the CEPOL training course “Cross-Cutting aspects of cyberinvestigation – Cybercrime and cybersecurity” and the European Cyber ​​Security Challenge, among others.

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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