ANN ARBOR (WWJ) — Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that operate industrial systems are found at hospitals, water treatment plants, energy generation stations, warehouses and other locations. In recent months, the security of SCADA systems against cyber attacks has become a growing concern nationally, especially since the discovery of the Stuxnet computer malware.

To assist organizations that use SCADA systems, the Michigan Cyber Range has created a SCADA training component for its Alphaville cybersecurity environment that organizations can use to practice and learn security techniques to protect critical infrastructure.

The Michigan Cyber Range will debut the new SCADA component at the Michigan Cyber Summit 2013 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on Oct. 25. Staff from the Michigan Cyber Range will host a booth at the event, where they will demonstrate Alphaville and engage in capture the flag exercises within the virtual environment.

Joe Adams, vice president of research and cyber security at Merit Network, said the new component “will let people train on cybersecurity issues related to control systems, preparing them for real-life scenarios in a secure, virtual environment.”

The new SCADA module is built on Alphaville, a virtual town created at the Cyber Range that features computer systems for a library, police station, city hall and power plant.

The new SCADA module, called Alphaville Power & Electric, took approximately two and a half months to complete, and models computer infrastructure typically found in a power plant.

Since its launch in May, the Alphaville environment has been used for several training events and workshops, with the largest event being a high school workshop that was done in conjunction with Eastern Michigan University.

Students and professionals are able to practice the detection and mitigation of cybersecurity threats, as well as participate in red team-blue team exercises using the secure virtual environment.
The Michigan Cyber Range’s development team will next work on an incident response and recovery component for Alphaville, which will enable students and others to practice and learn business continuity and disaster recovery techniques.

In addition to the Michigan Cyber Summit, the Michigan Cyber Range staff will be attending the Michigan Digital Government Summit in Lansing this week and the DerbyCon 3.0 in Louisville, Ky. next week.

“By attending these events, we are able to learn and participate. We can stay current on happenings in the security community and get ideas for things that we can bring back to the range,” Adams said.

In the next few months, the Michigan Cyber Range will be offering several cybersecurity certification courses online and in Ann Arbor, covering disaster recovery, penetration testing, and other topics.

The range offers certifications for 14 cybersecurity disciplines in partnership with Mile2, a nationally respected training provider. For more about the upcoming courses, please visit

Like a test track or a firing range, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to conduct “live fire” exercises — simulations that test the detection and reaction skills of participants in a variety of situations. The Michigan Cyber Range also offers certification courses for a number of cybersecurity disciplines, with instruction available both onsite and live online.

The Michigan Cyber Range is hosted and facilitated by Merit Network in partnership with Michigan state government and with the sponsorship of Consumers Energy, DTE Energy and Juniper Networks.

Merit Network is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities, owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit to conduct the then-novel project of connecting their mainframe computers. Merit has continued its mission of reseach and education in networking, later becoming Michigan’s first Internet service provider. Today, Merit provides high-performance networking and IT products and services to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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