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Real-life training without the risks

Much like flight simulators that provide real-world experience to pilots without jeopardizing lives, a new cyber security training capability will give computer system administrators experience defending against cyber attacks without compromising their networks.

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a prototype Systems Administrator Simulation Trainer to rapidly develop the cyber security experience of system administrators in any type of organization. Launched through an automated system, the network of training tools simulates the cyber environment to teach system administrators to identify, circumvent or recover from hacker activity.

"This environment includes realistic attacks to really give students experience to learn about— and sweat about— what to do next," said Ron Melton, who leads the Laboratory's cyber security group. When these tools are fully developed, students would use them remotely, reducing training costs and allowing continual access.

The simulation trainer was developed for the Department of Defense's Technical Support Working Group, which conducts the national interagency research and development program for combating terrorism through rapid research, development and prototyping.

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