National Guard Units Train to Defend Against Cyber Attacks

More than 400 eyes stare at a sea of laptops in a series of rooms here. These eyes belong to the participants of Cyber Yankee 2018, an exercise in which National Guard cyber units and civilian agencies train to react and defend some of the area’s critical networks against domestic cyberattacks.

Army Capt. Lee Ford, the assistant team lead for Cyber Yankee and a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s Defensive Cyber Operations Element, said many people are mystified by what a cyber unit would train on and do not realize how the success of such units could directly affect the public or troops in the field.

“They look at those in cyber and think, ‘Oh, they are just behind computer screens not doing anything. Well, those guys behind there could be the ones defending you getting your orders properly, [or] your position, where you’re located,” he said. “Technology is engrossed in every facet of our lives — texting mom over in California or ensuring clean water inside your faucets. Technology is in every industry.” 

During the Cyber Yankee exercise, the Red Cell — the bad guys — attacks sites defended by the Blue Cell. The Blue Cell’s mission is to make sure the exercise region remains operational in the face of attacks against a water supply networking system, a power company and a Defense Department network.

The cyber teams are…

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