Posted on April 15, 2020 by Wendy Frost

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Business has opened the UTSA Cyber Range to provide businesses, governmental organizations, military units and individuals with a hyper-realistic environment to hone their cyber security skills against real-world attack scenarios and to test incident response plans in both a virtual and in-person environment.

Cyber Range personnelThe UTSA Cyber Range, which was created in partnership with Cyber Range Solutions Inc. (CRS), utilizes Cyberbit technology, which is the most widely-deployed cyber security training and simulation platform.

A cyber range is a hands-on training facility where individuals and teams receive training on how to respond to and defend real-world cyber security attacks in a simulated, virtual environment. UTSA’s fully customizable and automated facility can also serve as a testbed for companies to assess their current security tools and architecture in a safe and controlled environment.

“This is the first public cyber range in Texas,” said Joe Mallen, director of the UTSA Cyber Range. “By leveraging this platform and UTSA’s ranking as the No. 1 cyber security program in the nation, we will be a premier resource for cyber security training throughout San Antonio as well as the state of Texas.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cyber Range will begin by conducting remote virtual training. But plans are underway for a grand opening of the facility this fall.

“We created a sandbox that individuals and teams can come play in,” said Akbar Kazim, business development officer for CRS. “We offer a number of canned scenarios in a controlled environment. Sessions are recorded so instructors can debrief participants after the session. This is a unique public-private partnership.”

In addition to serving the public, the cyber range will support UTSA faculty and students engaged in research and academic training.

“For businesses, the UTSA Cyber Range can become part of their on-boarding process,” said Mallen. “We can simulate any network environment and tools. They can send employees to test their skills and to receive training in a safe environment. Now, employees do not need to experience their first attack scenario on the job.”

The UTSA Cyber Range will begin offering online training programs this month that range from three-hour sessions to those spanning the course of several days. Training opportunities include ransomware attack simulation, SQL injection scenarios, cyber security for beginners and SCADA security training among others.

The UTSA Cyber Range is managed by the Center for Professional Excellence, the home of executive education programming in the UTSA College of Business.

— Wendy Frost