Pace Magazine

Expanding the Range of Cybersecurity Education

Lance Pauker
January 18, 2024
Pace students working in front of a row of computers within the Cyber Range

When it comes to cybersecurity education, Pace is securely one of the premier destinations in the northeast. In fact, our Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems has even been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security.

Seidenberg has remained at the forefront of the field by consistently providing students cutting-edge opportunities to sharpen their skills through practical, real-world scenario-building. One example of this philosophy in practice can be found at the Cybersecurity Education and Research Lab (CERL), Pace’s hub for cyber curriculum and practice. Constantly looking to innovate, the CERL is now offering students and researchers an incredibly unique space for cybersecurity training and exploration through Pace’s newly launched Cyber Range.

What is Cyber Range exactly? Located on the Pleasantville Campus, a passerby might observe the sophisticated equipment and setup and think it’s some sort of CIA-style high tech control room. In a sense, that’s not too far off from its intention.

“The purpose of this room is to conduct cybersecurity exercises and scenarios that are hard to do in a regular room,” says Seidenberg Executive Director of Cybersecurity Li-Chiou Chen, PhD. Meaning, it employs the use of machines and containers pre-equipped with tools to help students and researchers train on various attack/defend scenarios.

The purpose of this room is to conduct cybersecurity exercises and scenarios that are hard to do in a regular room

“We’re using it as a training range for collaboration; and preparing students to go into emergency situations and network operations centers,” adds Clinical Assistant Professor Joseph Acampora.

As Acampora notes, Cyber Range is far from a typical classroom. There is for instance, a video wall with the capability of hooking up eight stations to enable instantaneous collaboration among students during scenarios designed to simulate what they might face after graduation, while working for Fortune 500 companies or a prestigious government agency. This hands-on training enables students to move well-beyond theory and gain incredibly valuable experience that is not typically this accessible at the college level.

“The environment here is stimulating for people in this field; people in this field aren’t your typical computer users. We have a different mindset for being absorbed in this technology,” says cybersecurity student Andrew Kirk ’24.

As Kirk further notes, as the damage conducted via cyber warfare is only increasing, initiatives like Cyber Range is helping equip the next generation of cybersecurity leaders with the tools and abilities to truly make a difference.

“Anyone that has internet and a computer could do so much damage,” said Kirk. “We’re learning ethical hacking; we’re learning the tools the bad guys are using so we can defend against it. In that sense, this education is priceless.”

To learn more about Cyber Range and cybersecurity initiatives at Pace, visit the Cyber Range website.

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