By Julia Talevski (ARN)
A group of Australian cyber companies have collaborated to create a pilot of a fully online, collective cyber training program for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Cydarm, Elttam, Penten and Retrospect Labs have banded together to tailor a solution for Defence on FifthDomain’s cyber training platform, called the Accelerated Defence Cyber Training (ADCT) program.
The online training program was conducted from FifthDomain’s headquarters in Canberra and was delivered remotely to Navy, Army and Air Force personnel across the country over a three-week timeframe. The program featured a highly realistic virtual environment with simulated exercises, and trainees were grouped into virtual teams to remediate vulnerabilities and respond to simulated and real threat actors.
The program closely aligns with Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 which outlines a range of initiatives including the growth of the country’s cyber skills pipeline as one of its key recommendations.
- “Building home-grown cyber capabilities is a team effort. In Defence, we’re developing our capabilities in an increasingly connected world – which extends to the battlefield,” ADF head of information warfare division Major General Marcus Thompson said. “The collaboration of local SME’s to support the training progression of ADF cyber operators gives me great confidence that we’re on the right track.
- “I commend our partners FifthDomain, Penten, Cydarm, Elttam and Retrospect Labs for contributing to the acceleration of ADF cyber training.”
Melbourne-based Cydarm deployed its case management platform and dashboard as a command and control system to coordinate team activities and provide oversight for mentors. This enabled trainees in the cybersecurity operations teams to collaborate on responding to incidents while the mentors continually assessed their progress.
- “Developing home-grown expertise is a key objective of the Australian government as it focuses on building sovereign cyber capability to generate jobs, defend Australia and export these solutions to the Asia Pacific region and around the world,” Cydarm CEO Vaughan Shanks said.
Elttam, which specialises in offensive and defensive security services, played the role of cyber threat actors for the ADF trainees. Canberra-based Penten integrated its unique artificial intelligence (AI)-generated content and user behaviour on FifthDomain’s cyber training platform.
- “Although this is only the first step working together, the combined solution of additional realism and automation will enhance the training outcomes, reduce the time taken to create the environments and improve the repeatability,” Penten director and founder Ben Whitham said.
Retrospect Labs is building a cyber security exercise platform that makes exercises easy to design, execute and evaluate, so that organisations can continually practice and perfect their response to any cyber incident.
AustCyber CEO Michelle Price added this was a real-world demonstration of the strength of Australia’s cyber security ecosystem.
- “Seeing five sovereign cyber businesses come together to provide a virtual training platform for Defence is a great example of the strong cyber security sector in Australia and shows that Australian cyber businesses can provide the solutions Defence needs,” Price said.
- “A strong domestic cyber security sector is critical for Australia’s competitiveness and reputation as a trusted place to do business.”