The North American Cyber Range Alliance (NACRA), an affiliation of independent stakeholder organizations dedicated to fortifying U.S. cyber defenses, announced it will open registration for NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 to the general public on September 1, 2020.
NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 is a real-time, virtual cyber range skill-building and competition event featuring 14 virtual events and offering more than 390 hands-on challenge experiences. Hosted across six cyber ranges provided by NACRA Preferred Range Partners, registration for the online competition is open to both active and aspiring cyber professionals in higher education, business, public service or non-profit, and the community at large.
The NACRA Preferred Range partners participating in NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 include Advanced Business Learning (ABL) Cyber Range, Cisco, Cyberbit, and Merit. These preferred range partners offer participants hands-on training and skill-building in network, systems, and application vulnerability assessment in highly interactive, virtual environments. NACRA cyber ranges provide a safe and legal environment in which students and members of the public can attain cyber defense skills by using the tools and methods required to find, neutralize, and protect against threats from bad actors. Training modules, like vulnerability testing for product development or systems security resilience, are structured to be progressive so they can be relevant for both new learners as well as experienced cybersecurity operators. NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 participants who complete cybersecurity challenges can advance to progressively more advanced range challenges. The event comes at no cost to participants, offers an opportunity to gain peer recognition, and build professional networks. Cyber Quest 2020 enjoys support from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Commerce Authority, and the Arizona Technology Council.
“Cyber Quest 2020 brings together motivated novices and skilled operators in world-class learning workshops and challenge events, which will further develop the cybersecurity talent pool in Arizona and address the growing need for trained, qualified, and trusted cybersecurity personnel to protect US interests in cyberspace,” said Frank J. Grimmelmann, president and CEO of Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance, Inc. (ACTRA). “The NACRA Participants offer learners from all walks of life unique, hands-on cybersecurity training with an emphasis on ethical behavior and technical excellence. With thousands of cybersecurity-related job openings in Arizona alone, NACRA is using events like Cyber Quest 2020 to take direct action to bolster national security and protect industrial productivity by contributing to the infrastructure to ensure a steady pipeline of cybersecurity professionals.”
“A highly-skilled labor force with the right experience continues to draw companies and investment to Arizona, and trusted cybersecurity operatives are one of the key differentiators for our state today,” said Sandra Watson, President & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We are thrilled to support NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 as part of our work to highlight Arizona as a global hub for innovation and a leader in the critical domain of cybersecurity talent.”
“Arizona has become a national hotspot for software innovation in the past decade, and it’s events like NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 that allow our talented developers and security professionals to show what they can do,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO at Arizona Technology Council. “NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 also offers an inclusive way for anyone entering the workforce or interested in a career transition to cyber defense to get first-hand experience with the most advanced cybersecurity training environments in the world.”
“Our support of NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 is directly aligned with our mission to build a better-prepared cybersecurity workforce worldwide,” said Adi Dar, CEO at Cyberbit. “Bringing the world’s leading cloud cyber range to Cyber Quest 2020 participants allows us to meet the challenges of the confluence of an ever-increasing volume of attacks on digital assets and the need for social distancing. We are happy to support an effort that will help organizations in the US fortify their defenses against cyber threats.”
NACRA Alliance Participants engaged in Cyber Quest 2020 include ABL, Estrella Mountain Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Glendale Community College, IT Institute Phoenix College, and the Maricopa Community College District. The NACRA charter and code of conduct for ethical cyber range operations were co-developed by the initial Alliance Participants, including ACTRA, Advanced Business Learning (ABL) Cyber Academy, Estrella Mountain Community College, the Grand Canyon University Cyber Center of Excellence, Valleywise Health, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. NACRA Alliance Participating Organizations can independently and creatively design cyber range technology stacks and programs to suit their individual needs, leverage significantly discounted options from NACRA Preferred Range Vendors, or adopt a hybrid of both. Preferred NACRA commercial range partners today include Advanced Business Learning, Cyberbit, and Michigan’s Merit Range, offering platforms which scale from basic skills instruction to those which are used to train nations and their militaries across the globe. As part of its support of the cybersecurity ecosystem in Arizona, operational support for NACRA is provided on a pro bono basis by Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance, Inc. (ACTRA), a hub for cyber information sharing between industry, academia, law enforcement, and intelligence to better protect Arizona’s critical infrastructure and key resources from cyber threats.
Individuals interested in learning about cybersecurity or those looking to compete against the best of their peers are invited to register for NACRA Cyber Quest 2020 starting September 1, 2020: https://www.nacracyberquest.us.
The North American Cyber Range Alliance (NACRA) aims to strengthen North America’s cyber defenses by mitigating a growing number of cyber threats and provide a secure environment that promotescybersecurity workforce and economic development. By ‘thinking globally and acting locally,’ NACRA members join an alliance of like-minded, grassroots cyber ranges that adopt a uniform code of conduct and commit to working together for the common good. This is the only alliance in the world that coordinates government and private sector organizations to support of the unique workforce and economic development efforts of autonomous, locally operated cyber ranges. As such, NACRA is building a network of cyber ranges intent on preserving and leveraging their individuality and creativity to train the next generation of cyber professionals to defeat adversaries in cyberspace responsibly and ethically.