PHOENIX, Ariz., December 3, 2019 — The North American Cyber Range Alliance (NACRA), an affiliation of independent stakeholder organizations dedicated to fortifying US cyber defenses, today unveiled the NACRA initiative and opened the invitation to join the alliance to cyber ranges and cybersecurity infrastructure providers nationwide. Cyber ranges that sign on as NACRA Participants offer members of the
public, including students, hands-on cybersecurity training with an emphasis on ethical behavior and technical excellence. Alliance Participant cyber ranges also benefit from discounts and incentives available to them from NACRA Preferred Vendors.
The NACRA charter and code of conduct for ethical cyber range operations were co-developed by the initial Alliance Participants, including Advanced Business Learning (ABL) Cyber Academy, Estrella Mountain Community College, the Grand Canyon University Cyber Center of Excellence, and Valleywise Health. Other Alliance Participants will be announced in the near future. Alliance Participants can design their cyber range technology stacks and programs to suit their individual needs using commercially available products from ethically minded providers, as well as leveraging discounted options from NACRA Preferred Vendors, which today include Advanced Business Learning and Cyberbit. Other NACRA Preferred Vendors are anticipated to join the alliance over time and will be announced accordingly. 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.
The cyber ranges offered by NACRA Alliance Participants provide hands-on training and skill-building to teach network, systems, and application vulnerability assessment in interactive environments. NACRA cyber ranges provide a safe and legal environment in which students and members of the public can attain cyber defense skills 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 personnel.
“A culture based on the ethical behavior is essential in cybersecurity training, which is one of our primary motivations for backing the NACRA initiative,” said Dr. Heather Monthie, Associate Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Grand Canyon University. “Our Cyber Center of Excellence is designed to prepare students for cyber industry careers, which we believe must include a way to demonstrate a commitment to and track record of high ethical standards to potential employers. We look forward to continued collaboration with our fellow NACRA Participants.”
“The NACRA initiative is designed specifically to 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 nearly 8,000 cybersecurity-related jobs going unfilled in Arizona echo the national trend, and NACRA is taking direct action to bolster national security and protect industrial productivity by creating the training infrastructure to ensure a steady pipeline of cybersecurity professionals. ACTRA is proud to see an organization started in Arizona make a national impact, and to offer our support to NACRA to help protect our nation’s security.”
“Learning a new set of technical skills in a domain like cybersecurity can be intimidating, and we joined NACRA because the initiative is a critical step to make this important domain more approachable,” said Tom Jenkins, CEO at ABL Cyber Range. “We also support NACRA because cyber ranges that become Alliance Participants commit to upholding high ethical standards, which is a vital aspect of training range
participants to use very powerful tools.”
“We are delighted to bring the world’s leading Cyber Range to NACRA members,” said John D’Annunzio, vice president North America at Cyberbit. “The companies and stakeholders that came together as a coalition of the willing to forge NACRA were motivated by a common cause: to ensure that organizations in the US can protect themselves against cyber threats. A NACRA membership gives employers the
assurance that cyber range trainees have learned and operated under the tutelage of range staff dedicated to technical excellence and the ethical use of advanced cybersecurity tools. Organizations have realized that cyberattacks are inevitable. As a key NACRA preferred cyber range vendor, we look forward to helping members increase their cyber resilience and defend against attacks by making the same world-class range option used by defense forces and governments around the world accessible to Alliance Participants.”
Students and members of the public should contact the Alliance Participant cyber range of their choice directly to learn more about available cybersecurity programs as well as range operating hours. Cyber ranges interested in becoming Alliance Participants can contact ACTRA at (602) 899-7970 or visit the NACRA Website www.actraaz.org/NACRA.
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 promotes 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 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.