Cybersecurity Image

Cybersecurity is a new discipline, which is neither well-defined nor sensibly delineated. In different settings, it means different things to different people. Beneath its grand label hides a jumble of electrical engineering, networking, cryptography, psychology, and social sciences­. Well-trained, certified – and successful – Cybersecurity experts must be steeped in all the attributes affecting security of their particular systems and must be willing to stay the course for their entire career by constantly sharpening their skills. In other words, Cybersecurity experts cannot be products of a two-week, online course. They cannot acquire their skills without being exposed to real-world scenarios and infrastructures, and they cannot do it without experienced mentors.

Fortunately, the same process – technology consolidation – that has created an effective environment for cyber attacks, also makes generalized cybersecurity education possible. In many ways, the situation is not much different from medicine where prerequisites must be satisfied first, and where continuing education is assumed and required. As in medicine, Cybersecurity training must be understood in the context of a demanding, but rewarding, life-long career.



NSF Award #: 1642118

In 2016, GW’s Research and Technology Services (RTS) proposed a solution and was awarded half a million dollars to develop a comprehensive platform for hands on cybersecurity education. The SCEPTRE project (Substrate for Cybersecurity Education; a Platform for Training, Research and Experimentation) utilized a previous, NSF-funded project (SDNX – Award #: 1246386) and developed a cybersecurity education platform on top of the SDNX infrastructure as one of its many applications. Between 2016 and 2020, the Capital Region Advanced Cyber Range (CRACR) has evolved into a powerful, scalable product capable of instantiating real cyberinfrastructures, including their cyber-physical components, accessible from both classroom and remote locations.