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Utah Hosts Defense Department Cyber Security Exercise

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah – Hundreds of military and civilian cyber defense specialists converged on Utah Tuesday as the largest unclassified cyber defense exercise began at Camp Williams.  

As we learned earlier this year with the Colonial Pipeline and the JBS meatpacking plant computer attacks, cybersecurity is an ever-growing concern for the public. 

About 800 people from around the country came to Utah for Cyber Shield 2021. 

It’s a major event for Camp Williams.  

“What we are doing here at Cyber Shield gives our soldiers real-world experience,” said Lt. Col. Brad Rhodes. 

The Army National Guard has stepped up its cybersecurity training. Hundreds of military members from across the U.S. are training on defense-focused tactical exercises. 

“Depending on which open-source material you read, China has 50 – 100,000 cyber operators. They’re building capacity to attack and do incursions and properties around the world,” Rhodes said. “So, it is very important to understand the nation-state actors out there are building these capacities and it’s why we need to build these capacities.”   

Rhodes has decades of experience in the military. He said the importance of cyber security has grown to the top of the list of priorities.

“Inside the military itself, across the department of defense, we are actually a pretty small cadre. Having been in Cyber Com and working some of those missions out there, I will argue we are probably some of the most capable and talented cyber force,” he said.

The Cyber Shield training brought in people from cyber departments with large companies like Boeing, Microsoft and Utah’s Pluralsight.

“We look at what we are doing here for simulation. We start at website defacement, then accelerate it to criminal actor. The criminal actor space is exactly what happened with the pipeline incident,” said Aaron Rosenmund from Pluralsight.

“After, we give them the report of this is what you could improve,” said Rhodes. 

He also offered some simple advice for people at home. 

“Don’t click on stuff,” Rhodes said. “Know that no, there isn’t a Nigerian prince.” 

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