Boise State University has become a member of the North American Cyber Range Alliance (NACRA). In this capacity, Boise State will join the alliance’s mission of increasing the strength of cyber defenses in the U.S., as well as furthering the educational and professional networks and opportunities for students.
“The alliance provides us peer colleges and universities to reach out to and collaborate with. One of the key tenets of cybersecurity is collaboration because no one person, college, university, company, or agency can truly ‘go it alone’ and combat the array of threats impacting our nation without help and support,” said Edward Vasko, director for Boise State’s Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity. “This alliance, along with our academic curriculum and competency-based learning initiatives provides our students real differentiation in the market as they look to start or advance their careers.”
Through collaboration with other range member institutions, Boise State students will also be able to benefit from events and gain hands-on experience through the capabilities afforded by the range.
“With Boise State joining the NACRA Alliance initiative, it furthers the alliance’s goal of having a nationwide network of collaborative independent cyber ranges to support professional workforce development and assist in filling cybersecurity vacancies with qualified applicants. We are very excited to welcome Boise State and are confident that it will introduce creative cyber ranges to successfully contribute to this growing network, producing the future cyber warriors who will defeat our nation’s increasingly competent cyber adversaries,” said Frank J. Grimmelmann, president and CEO of the Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance, Inc.
Cyber ranges, according to The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education are “interactive, simulated representations of an organization’s local network, system, tools, and applications that are connected to a simulated Internet level environment. They provide a safe, legal environment to gain hands-on cyber skills and a secure environment for product development and security posture testing.”
“The Boise State warfare range meets these key criteria from NIST. The purpose of this simulation environment is to provide students and mentors the chance to work together in an environment with an ethical foundation, where little to no harm can be done and mistakes, when made, are not impactful. This gives students an opportunity to appropriately and freely learn via trial and error,” explained Vasko.
As a NACRA member, Boise State also affirms its dedication to developing and empowering the next generation of cyber warfare operatives, and initiatives to make the region, nation and world safer from pervasive cybersecurity threats.