Georgia Cyber Center helps prepare groups for attacks

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:26 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Earlier this year, a cyberattack crippled some Augusta city services for months.

Now, the effects of the attack are still being dealt with. As the investigation into what happened continues, the focus turns to how to prevent these things from happening in the first place.

A cyberattack is one of those things you never think will happen to you until it does. It’s why 10 different agencies from across Georgia are participating in this year’s Cyber Dawgs training to sharpen their skills.

Cyber Dawgs is a five-day training held by Georgia Technology Authority in partnership with the Georgia Cyber Center and Georgia Army National Guard.

So, when the attacks happen, they’re prepared.

Cyberattacks are something both industry professionals and people in Augusta like Stacy Kayy have in common.

For Kayy, it was the cyberattack in Augusta that impacted her small business.

“Couldn’t get anyone out here to come and deliver us trash cans,” she said.

It’s what state and educational agencies across the state are trying to prevent with the training.

State cybersecurity official Mike Davis said: “It provides them the ability to see things that hopefully they’ll never see, but, unfortunately, probably will at some point see in their career. Being able to identify a threat or a threat actor kind of better prepares them to deal with it in the real world.”

While it’s the fifth year of the training, it’s more relevant now than ever.

GA Cyber Center range architect Jonathan Race said: “There are things close to home that have occurred within cyberattacks.”

They’re trying to make it as close to a real cyberattack as possible, with cyber experts and agencies from across the state coming to test their skills.

“We’re not just pretending to execute attacks, we’re not pretending to defend. It is a sandbox, right? So it’s in a controlled environment, but it is for all intents and purposes, it’s a real-world environment,” said Race.

It’s all about bringing a new sense of security to the digital platforms we use every day.

“This year, we have close to about 500 virtual systems that are deployed to include all of the things you would see in an enterprise – email services, file storage services,” said Race.