Purdue is preparing for the next generation of weapons: cyberattacks.
Recently, Purdue announced in a press release a partnership with technology company “Cyberbit” to create a “cyber range,” an immersive virtual simulation for cybersecurity workforce training.
The cyber range can simulate attacks and ransomware, pulling participants into a virtual reality cyber emergency.
This experiential learning can be much more effective than traditional training, according to Baijian Yang, a cybersecurity professor in the department of computer and information technology.
“They give you the kind of cyberattack scenarios, and going from there, how do you quickly respond?” Yang said. “That kind of very realistic simulation really can help people to begin first hand knowledge ... kind of like a drill for fire but then at a low cost.”
Purdue Chief Corporate and Global Partnerships Officer and one of the main organizers of the partnership, Daniel Hirleman, says this is a strategic collaboration to enhance Purdue’s reach.
“It is easier to acquire technology and use it — like how Purdue acquired Kaplan for Purdue Global — not to say our faculty would not be able to create a cyber range” Hirleman said.
According to Hirleman, an Indiana delegation went to Israel to see the Israeli cyber tech park with plans to build one back home. During the tour they were introduced to Cyberbit, an Israeli-based cybersecurity company that offers cybersecurity simulations and training originally used in the government and military.
“Cyberbit is not a start-up, but it is small,” Hirleman said. “It will bring interesting technology which we will use for corporate partnerships and research.”
One of the partnerships in the works is with Rolls-Royce. According to reporting by Indiana Public Broadcasting, the Rolls-Royce Defense Programs President Phil Burkholder intends to train all employees to protect against cyber threats.
Training will be supported by cybersecurity faculty and professionals. One CIT professor believes communication will be key to making the partnership work.
“How faculty can get involved remains to be further discussed in terms of the expectation from the University, from the people getting the training and from the company providing the platform,” Yang said. “I think there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to make sure we’re on the same page and that everybody can benefit from this.”
The cyber range server will be located in the Purdue Research Park. This will be only one of many cyber ranges planned to come to campus according to Hirleman.
“Before, cybersecurity was the computer science person’s problem,” Hirleman said. “Now, it is everyone’s problem.”