Simulating advanced cyber threats

No. 462 Squadron and Joint Project team 9131 (JP9131) are enabling the warfighter in the cyber domain through the support of a simulated cyber environment known as the CyberSim.

CAPTION: Aircraftwoman Lauren Campbell, left, with Corporal Natalie Ekonomopoulos in a communications cabinet for cyber research and development systems at No. 462 Squadron. Story by Flight Lieutenant Georgina MacDonald. Photo by Corporal Brenton Kwaterski.

The CyberSim was originally designed in-house by No. 462 Squadron to fulfill the need to train and upskill cyber specialists in a coordinated and controlled environment.

Commanding Officer No. 462 Squadron Wing Commander Duncan Scott said the work his squadron was doing alongside JP9131 was using innovation to move the capability into the future.

“No. 462 Squadron and JP9131 are enabling the war fighter in the cyber domain through the creation and support of a simulated cyber environment known as the Defence Cyber Range, which is an evolution of the Air Force CyberSim,” Wing Commander Scott said.

The capability provided by the CyberSim allows for the potential simulation of thousands of computers and their associated network traffic. Using such simulations, critical mission networks and their traffic can be replicated.

“This Simulated Key Terrain helps deliver two capabilities; a raise, train and sustain function needed to develop a cyber-workforce and the second being a cyber-range for cyber warfare operators to develop/perfect their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to address the evolving threats,” Wing Commander Scott said.

“The simulated environment is used by many of the sections within the squadron such as the Cyber Vulnerability Investigation Team who use the CyberSim to simulate full networks and conduct training for Vulnerability Assessments to prepare the team for what they may expect to see when assessing live Air Force systems. Practice within the CyberSim also allows the development of new processes and tools in a safe environment to ensure that Air Force systems are comprehensively assessed and secured.”

No. 462 Squadron’s Cyber Protection Flight use the CyberSim to train in dynamic environments of both simulated mission systems and networks.

“These Cyber Warfare Analysts and Cyber Warfare Officers defend against emulated real-world threats generated by our Threat Emulation Operators who imitate the TTPs of known threat actors,” Wing Commander Scott said.

“The continued support and infrastructure upgrades from JP9131 will provide even greater depth of training and lead to increased realism of training environments to simulate the highly contested cyber terrain that the ADF is entrusted to defend from cyberspace threats.

“I’m incredibly proud of our team and the innovation they’re employing to move our capability forward and keep up with ever emerging threats.”

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