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Test Your Cybersecurity Skills on CAAREN’s Cyber Range

Posted on Dec 03, 2018 by Stephanie Stenberg
Tags: CAP, State and Regional Network Spotlight

You need practice before you can defend against a major cyber attack. Luckily, George Washington University has a state-of-the-art cyber range where students and professionals can train inside a virtual cyber-physical environment to learn how to defeat hundreds of simulated cyber attacks and defend critical systems. The cyber range lets users plug in and virtualize, for example, the SCADA network of a regional power plant, and use that information for training, testing and experimentation. The Capital Region Advanced Cyber Range (CRACR) is one of the many platforms that runs on the Capital Area Advanced Research and Education Network (CAAREN).  

Headshot of Jaroslav Flidr
CRACR was the first system that allowed [students] to work on real systems the way a future employer would expect.

Jaroslav Flidr, Teaching Professor in Cybersecurity

CRACR is currently used to deliver courses in the GW Cyber Academy. Students use CRACR to take undergraduate and master’s coursework in cybersecurity policy and compliance, where CRACR provides the sandbox, which functions as the laboratory for each course. Dr. Jaroslav Flidr, PhD, a Teaching Professor in Cybersecurity, observed, “Before the CRACR course, the students were generally unable to interact with run-of-the-mill cyberinfrastructures. CRACR was the first system, in their experience, that allowed them to work on real systems the way a future employer would expect. The practical experience was invaluable for them.” 

In support of CRACR’s expansion, CAAREN works with research and education organizations, governments, and small businesses to build out the virtual infrastructures and let them test their cybersecurity skills and learn new and evolving attack, defense, and cyber policy strategies. In the future, CAAREN plans to develop new CRACR courses and practicums for GW’s Cyber Academy and expand the functionality of the orchestration platform to simplify the interface to the environment. It is currently working with the Northern Virginia Community College to deliver CRACR access over CAAREN to cybersecurity students at the Woodbridge campus. Further plans include continuing to expand the CRACR platform into K-20 schools in Loudoun, Fairfax, and the Washington DC region.  

About CAAREN
The Capital Area Advanced Research and Education Network (CAAREN) is an initiative designed to build a high-performance research and education infrastructure serving the Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia areas. CAAREN facilitates world-class research, education and knowledge sharing in the nation’s capital.

CAAREN offers research network services to government, education and research organizations, as well as some private-sector organizations within the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. CAAREN is partnering with DC-Net, a program managed by the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), to reach public and private K-12 schools, public libraries, museums, hospitals and independent research organizations as part of the Sponsored Education Group Participants (SEGP) program at Internet2.

Network Statistics 
Website: https://www.caaren.org/
Twitter: @CAARENgw 
Community Anchor Program member since: July 1, 2014 
Institutions served: George Washington University, Georgetown University, American University, Children’s Hospital, and World Bank.