San Diego Gets Serious About Cyber Security

The City of San Diego recently launched the San Diego Regional Cyber Lab to help small businesses and local public agencies combat cyberattacks. The lab was funded by two grants from the US Department of Homeland Security totalling approximately $928,000.

“We’ve all heard the horror stories of high-profile attacks that have held companies and public agencies hostage, costing them millions in lost productivity or ransoms,” said Darren Bennett, the City’s chief information security officer (CISO). “We must remain vigilant in defending against these ever-evolving threats and, with this new San Diego Regional Cyber Lab, we’ll be stronger as a region by working together against a common enemy.”

The Cyber Lab’s physical lab space is designed to provide specialized training in a safe environment to simulate and defend against cyberattacks. It has both PC and Mac environments connected to multiple servers which can run various simulations to be addressed.

The cyber simulation tools include:

  • The Free Range – which provides a collaborative, cloud-based platform for training, development and testing of cybersecurity tools in a safe and controlled environment;
  • The Haiku Range – which essentially functions like a flight simulator to allow users of all levels develop real-world skills in a game-like virtual environment; and
  • Cyber Catch – a cloud-based cyber incident simulator specifically designed for small and medium-sized organizations.

“Cybersecurity is now everyone’s business. The FBI reports a 300 per cent increase in cybercrimes across all industries since the pandemic began with more than half of these costly attacks aimed at small and medium-sized businesses – our region’s economic engine,” said Lisa Easterly, president and CEO of Cyber Centre of Excellence, a San Diego-based nonprofit. “The Cyber Lab will now provide these organizations with collaborative resources to gauge and harden their cyber readiness and train staff in risk-free scenarios, ultimately strengthening the region’s cyber resiliency.”