Pictured (L to R): HCC students Ryan Crass and Andrew Schickler; Vadim Olyashevsky, Senior Instructor, Baltimore Cyber; Gary Cohen, PM, Baltimore Cyber; and HCC students Matthew Mershon, Ryan Chesney, Joshua Teter, and Shaka Johnson.

On June 15, a team of students from Harford Community College participated in the Baltimore Cyber Range (BCR) Security Operations Center/Defensive Operations Exercise Scenarios held at the BCR, located in the Gateway Complex in Halethorpe, MD. The BCR and the State of Maryland make this unique one-day cyber range experience available to community college students across the state as part of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation-sponsored Employment Advancement Right Now Advanced Cybersecurity Training grant.

Andrew Schickler, Joshua Teter, Matthew Mershon, Ryan Crass, Ryan Chesney, and Shaka Johnson composed Harford Community College's Cyber Team for this event. Frank Mayer, M.S., CISSP, adjunct faculty member at the College, coordinated this valuable opportunity for the students. He provided guidance, observed, coached and mentored the students throughout the daylong event.

The exercise included sophisticated defensive operations scenarios that included real world threats. The team prepared for the event by reviewing training videos on their own and also by meeting as a group to train hands-on in the cyber lab on several occasions. 

The students had to apply their understanding of what security information and event management (SIEM) system and firewalls do in principle to execute the event successfully. The students employed Splunk, Palo Alto Firewall and the Pfsense Firewall as the primary tools on the new Metova Range to complete two scenarios: Apache Shutdown Attack and Web Page Defacement. They executed the exercise by going through the steps of incident response to include preparation, identification/detection, containment/mitigation, eradication, recovery, and remediation in conjunction with an after action review to apply lessons learned from the simulated incidents. According to Mayer, the team showed great initiative and flexibility in successfully completing the training.

The Harford Community College team's hard work was evident in the fact that they were able to compete both the scenarios well within the allocated time and to execute the 62 associated tasks to standard using the new system.

The participating students will receive a certificate and the BCR staff will follow up with the students to assist them with achieving their goal of a career in cybersecurity.