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Living Our Mission Blog Series #2: New Developments for Project Ares 3.6

By Angela Shugarts • Posted over 3 years ago


From new training content to Intelligent Cloud-based hosting options, our immersive, gamified Project Ares cybersecurity learning platform continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of our customers. Enterprise, government, and academic institutions are looking for scalable, diversified, results-driven cybersecurity readiness solutions that allow their organization to flex based on ever-evolving cyber threats. We are pleased to share the latest developments with you.

We’re on Microsoft Azure

Circadence is pleased to announce it is bringing Project Ares cyber ranges to Microsoft Azure cloud service. This arrangement will allow enterprise, government, and academic institutions the opportunity to further scale and grow their cyber range spaces based on ever-evolving cybersecurity goals and objectives. Circadence’s cyber range learning environment will be hosted in the Azure cloud to give further experiential opportunity to clients who seek access to public and private virtual environments for their cyber workforce. This revolutionary combination transforms learning by taking traditional lecture-based training out of the classroom and into interactive real-world environments anytime, anywhere.

Battle Room Alignment to NIST/NICE

All Project Ares battle room exercises and activities have been aligned to NIST/NICE workforce frameworks . Now clients can measure training ROI against industry-standard cybersecurity knowledge-bases, skills, and abilities. The seven NIST/NICE work roles include: operate and maintain, protect and defend, investigate, collect and operate, analyze, securely provision, and oversee and govern.

Scripting Fundamentals a new battle room

Scripting Fundamentals, new Battle Room #10, focuses on scripting fundamentals using Python 2.7 to create loops, functions, user input, casting, data structures, conditions, and modules. There are easy and medium levels of difficulty to adapt to student skill level.

“If you understand the concepts of one language, they oftentimes transfer to many others, such that you can pick them up more quickly,” said Lisa Perdelwitz, Director of Cyber Education and Training at Circadence.

Scripting skills are critical to any assessment team in order to enable them to perform at the next level and yet it continues to be under-taught in the cyber training community. This battle room will provide all users with a basic understanding of scripting and its value in the cybersecurity world and support them with this subject matter, which is proven challenging for learners.

New! Fast-Paced Mini-Game called RegEXile

RegEXile is an exciting pattern-recognition game that teaches the concepts of regular expressions while exercising trainee’s muscle memory and reaction time. With an immersive, futuristic scenario, the game challenges players to form the correct expression to select or exclude data in order to save-the-world.

  • Players type in regular expressions to identify the robots to attack, while not hurting fellow humans.
  • Players must recognize patterns in the enemy names and enter proper RegEX techniques to eliminate robots before they destroy the last of humankind.

Operation Black Dragon: Defend the power grid within Project Ares

Mission 13, focused on defending the power grid, will be introduced soon as “Operation Black Dragon” with an initial ‘easy’ level.

The mission scenario is as follows:

  • Conduct a cyber defense assessment mission on a power distribution plant.
  • The end state of the assessment will be a defensible power grid with user ability to detect attempts to compromise the grid, attribute any attacks, and respond accordingly.

Mission Objectives:

  • Evaluate the risks to the plant.
  • Determine if there are any indicators of compromise to the network.
  • Improve monitoring of network behavior.
  • Be prepared to mitigate an attack if necessary

Core Competencies Required:

  • Digital Forensics
  • Computer Languages
  • Computer Network Defense
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Cybersecurity Law
  • Cryptography
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Identity Management
  • Incident Response Management
  • Information Assurance
  • Information Systems and Network Security
  • Infrastructure (Network) Design
  • Network Management
  • Operating Systems
  • Risk Management
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Hacking Methodologies
  • Web Technology

Project Ares Platform Enhancements

In addition to new content, the Circadence engineering team also made additional updates to the user interface in this 3.6 version, including highlighting actionable buttons and various performance improvements, bug, and color fixes.

Stay tuned for our next release update 3.7!

We strive to enhance and expand Project Ares to keep it current and relevant. We use our customer feedback to help prioritize new content releases and feature evolutions. And, we constantly stay on the pulse of the threat landscape across all industries to inspire and inform our battle room and mission exercises.

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