Through simulation, DHS/Idaho National Laboratory hack into a company's systems and finds vulnerabilities while the company attempts to combat the hack

After the string of hacks that occurred throughout 2011, such as those launched against SonyFox News, and the CIA, the U.S. government isn't taking any chances anymore.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now offering network security training programs for companies that want a firmer grasp on what to do when a hack occurs on their systems.

The DHS, which has partnered with the Idaho National Laboratory for these training programs, conducts weeklong, 12-hour sessions in Idaho Falls, Idaho about once a month to help companies learn how to combat hackers.

The DHS and the Idaho National Laboratory held a two-day media event last week as an example of what the training programs offer. At that time, a fictitious scenario with fake companies was used to demonstrate a typical session. In this case, it was the ACME chemical company vs. Barney Advanced Domestic (BAD) Chemical Co., where BAD was attempting to hack into ACME's systems to steal the recipe for a new chemical product.

BAD was able to infiltrate ACME's system through a phishing scam in an email, where the hacker, which was an Idaho National Laboratory employee, was able to hack the system and search for security holes. Teams on the hacking side or the company side can earn points to buy items that either penetrate or protect the system.

Through these exercises, companies learn firsthand how to jump onto a computer and regain control of its network. According to Marty Edwards, director of DHS Control Systems Security Program, companies with firm security policies who delegate responsibilities for such an event have been the most successful in the program.

"This is a game of strategy in how to best implement your defenses in an industrial control environment," said Edwards. "This isn't all about technology, it's about people."

Representatives of the transportation, energy, oil and gas industries are a few examples of those who have attended the program.

Source: Reuters

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