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Cyber Ranges – Need Of The Hour

Subhasish Writes: The need for cyber security in the present scenario of cyber threats can never be overstated. The scale and complexity of attacks is rising and there is an urgent requirement to face up to emergent threats.

Sarangi Writes: The need for cyber security in the present scenario of cyber threats can never be overstated. The scale and complexity of attacks is rising and there is an urgent requirement to face up to emergent threats. The National Cyber Security Policy was released on 02 Jul 2013. This document provided the framework to provide a secure and resilient cyberspace in India. Amongst other things, it envisaged the following:-

Creation of a workforce of 5,00,000 professionals skilled in cyber security.

  1. Creation of infrastructure for conformity assessment and certification of compliance.
  2. Encouragement of all entities to periodically test and evaluate the adequacy and effectiveness of technical and operational security control measures implemented in IT systems and in networks.
  3. Conduct of regular cyber security drills & exercises at National, sectoral and entity levels to enable assessment of the security posture and level of emergency preparedness in resisting and dealing with cyber security incidents.
  4. Establishment of cyber security training infrastructure across the country by way of public private partnership arrangements.
  5. Establishment of cyber security concept labs for awareness and skill development in key areas.

Although it was not particularly stated in the policy document, one of the critical requirements for fulfilment of the policy objectives is the creation of cyber ranges. A cyber range can be compared to the firing range or test range used by the military since it has similar objectives in the cyber domain. The cyber range can be used as follows:-

 

  1. Training of cyber security professionals.
  2. Undertaking cyber security drills with an attacking force and a defending force.
  3. Evaluation of cyber security products.

The heart of a cyber range is a network modelling tool that enables simulation of any desired network architecture. Network elements (switches, routers, firewalls, end points, etc) can be added to this simulated network either as software or in the form of actual hardware devices. Traffic generators are used to simulate the network traffic. Malware analysis is a usual add-on to the basic cyber range functions.

All major nations have invested in creation of elaborate cyber range infrastructure. The US National Cyber range project was initiated by Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). After development between 2009 to 2012, it was handed over to the Test Resources Management Centre (TRMC) in Department of Defence for operations. Established firms like Raytheon, IBM and Ixia offer ‘cyber range’ solutions.

In India, TCG Digital Solutions Pvt. Ltd. has set up a cyber range in Gurugram that is commercially available since 2016. The Cyber Range Lab of Cisco India was inaugurated in Gurugram by Dr. Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator on 12 April 2017. Cisco India claims that the facility will use about 500 types of malware/ransomeware and 100 attack cases to provide simulated cyber attacks for realistic training. This facility can be accessed from any remote location.

Although establishment of cyber range by government agencies has not yet been reported in the open domain, it is safe to conclude that a cyber range is an inescapable requirement for developing cyber security capabilities.

 

 

 

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