As the country experiences a shortage of qualified cybersecurity personnel, Norwich University and Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) are leading the effort to offer an experiential educational experience to produce America’s next generation of cyber leaders.
Several weeks ago, NUARI’s Security Situation Center (SSC) welcomed seven Norwich University students into the SSC’s internship program. NUARI operates the SSC as a live laboratory to inspire and educate tomorrow’s cyber workforce for service, protecting our public and private networks from global threats.
Facing the challenge
The SSC is a functional Security Operations Center (SOC) with real-world clients and networks. Threat hunting, information sharing, and development of actionable intelligence in the operation of the organizational information environment broaden NUARI’s SSC beyond the traditional SOC. The primary objective for the interns is to experience and learn from NUARI’s full-time analysts what it’s like to be an SSC analyst and perform their tasks to the same level as full-time professionals, which requires them to master current cybersecurity tools and techniques.
Many cybersecurity programs are based solely on theory. Students gain the core knowledge but not the hands-on training necessary to become competent in addressing cybersecurity situations. Norwich’s and NUARI’s programs offer a mix of theory and competency-based experiences, quickly bringing more qualified cybersecurity experts into the workforce.
During their internship, the students will be exposed to different tools and events while developing the skills needed to resolve real-world incidents and become better prepared to face the challenges of more complex and frequent cyberattacks.
A closer look
So who are these seven interns, what sort of training will they receive from NUARI’s staff, and what does a typical day look like for them in the SSC? NUARI’s SSC interns are a mix of juniors and seniors working towards earning a Bachelor of Cyber Security and Information Assurance from Norwich University. First, the interns will work through Initial Qualification Training (IQT) and Mission Qualification Training (MQT). Once they complete their training, they will begin performing Network Security Monitoring, Threat Hunting, and Threat Research. Interns follow a routine similar to that of a full-time SSC analyst. Once they sign on for their shift, they pull up the mission for the day and begin working on their objectives. These objectives may include threat hunting, Mitre Hunts, resolving alerts, or researching current events. At the end of the mission, a debrief is held, informing the team of what they accomplished during the mission and what needs to be rolled over to the next one. Malicious activity observed will be written up and sent to the appropriate recipient for remediation. And malicious activity researched will be recorded and stored in order to hunt for in the future.
Some of the tools they will be exposed to and will be using include:
- The Elastic Stack
- The Hive
- Zeek and Snort
- MISP for threat intelligence
- Mitre Attack Framework
- Other open-source intelligence tools (VirusTotal, IBM X-Force Exchange, AbuseIPDB, etc.)
Working in NUARI’s SSC as an intern is a unique experience that develops leaders and competent individuals ready to take their place in the cyber workforce. We welcome our new interns and wish them well in their academic pursuits.
Contact us for additional information or how NUARI’s SSC can serve your organization!
Jakon is the Senior Marketing and Strategic Communications Specialist for Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI). He develops and executes digital and social media awareness initiatives promoting NUARI's mission of enabling a resilient society through rapid research, development, and education in cybersecurity, defense technologies, and information warfare.More posts by Jakon Hays