Cyber lab

by Mark Rowe

A ‘Cyber Lab’, a training site, at the Energus building in Cumbria, has been funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) through its Cyber Security and Resilience Project. Their aim is to tackle the cyber security skills gap. Bradley Cleaver, Business Service Manager at Energus says: “We wanted an immersive learning environment, fully isolated from our production network so that anything that happens within this environment, stays in here.”

The organisers say it provides an immersive learning space where apprentices can experience simulated cyber-attacks in an authentic, yet controlled environment. The audio-visual designers Pure AV used Crestron control products. Third party AV equipment can feature little security, and provide a weak spot that cyber-attackers take advantage of. To overcome this risk, Pure AV installed a Crestron CP3N 3-Series Control System processor to integrate products into one control platform. The CP3N 3-Series provides a separate isolated subnet for sensitive applications, which enabled Pure AV to protect controlled ecosystems – such as lighting and AV equipment – via a separate isolated LAN control subnet port.

Colin Hasted, System Specialist at Pure AV says: “This approach enabled us to protect all the control equipment on a completely isolated VLAN, out of reach of the cyber security students while still maintaining a secure connection to the core network for remote diagnostics.”

The Crestron CP3N 3-Series supports the AV and lighting control within the room, including five wall-mounted display devices and a touch table in the centre, that students can gather around for collaborative problem solving. The Crestron control system also interacts with the Crestron DMX lighting system, allowing users to switch between lighting schemes via a customised Crestron TSW-1060-B-S 10-inch touch screen. The lighting control changes the colours within the workspace in response to the activity, altering the atmosphere and intensifying the user experience. For example, during a cyber-attack the space may turn red and gradually fade to green as the attack is defended.

Cleaver adds: “The lighting and graphics immerse the apprentices in the learning space. We can simulate lock down and change the lighting to red to simulate a cyber-attack and then split the room to defend and attack, using the lighting to intensify the in-room experience.”

Nine apprentices are in training at the Cyber Lab, with a second cohort due to join the scheme later this year. Colin Reed, Director of Energus and Chairman of the National College for Nuclear, says: “We have created a facility which addresses a national demand for cyber security capability, to deliver the best quality young people to work in the industry.”


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