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Cybersecurity Training: Preparing for War in the Information Age

Cybersecurity Training: Preparing for War in the Information Age Read Transcript

Cyber warfare, computers used as weapons.

It takes specially trained soldiers

to fight and defend this digital battlefield.

That's why Regent University opened a state of the art cyber


It will give students the highest level of skills needed

for a career in cyber security.

And here to talk about it is Brigadier General Ron Rosen.

He heads up the Israeli Defense Forces Cyber Division.

And Ron, it's good to have you with us.

Thank you.

It's great being here, Dr. Robertson.

You used to watch "The 700 Club."

That was a long time ago.

40 years ago.

I remember that it was the only color TV in Israel back then.

And that gave us a little edge.



Well, I'm glad to count you among our audience.

Hey, listen.

What did we buy at Regional?

What is this thing that is over there now?

What will it do?

I think it will take care of the operators.

It will train operators.

Better operators.

You can't throw trained soldiers,

and tell them they're trained, if they're not--

if they don't feel and don't have

friction in the battlefield.

It's a battlefield.

If you have PowerPoint slides and read a book,

it's not good enough.

You can't go to war like that.

You don't do that with pilots.

You don't do that with Marines.

You don't do that with ground forces.

You train them.

You let them fire.

So this training, this range, cyber range,

is going to make the students much more capable.

So when they meet their enemy--

and it's their enemy--

face to face, so to speak, they're

going to be much better at how they deal with it

and mitigate the risks that come out of this attack.

Is Israel able to overcome the enemies around her?

I imagine Israel is so much superior

in terms of cyber technology.

Am I correct in that?

We're working very hard to be superior.

That's a-- it's hard work because it's

like moving on an escalator that's moving down.

You can't be standing.

You have to be constantly moving up,

and not in a speed which is the speed of the stairs moving


You have to move faster than that.

So it's a race.

It's a constant race.

And there's actually an arms race out there.

So you have to be very resourceful,

and you have to learn very quick.

The learning cycle has to be very quick.

It's not enough to go out of school,

and you think you know everything.

It's not.

You have to learn every day and debrief yourself and think

of where technology is going.

Because the technology is actually

the landscape of this realm.

It's a man-made realm.

So when you have a man-made realm, you have technology,

and you have the flaws in technology.

And the bad people use the flaws to get

into where they shouldn't be.

And so it's a race.

It's a constant race.

Well, when I was over there, I've

been so many times to Israel, but Benny Gantz

was a friend in those days.

He was up at the northern frontier

as a commanding officer.

But I remember--

I'm trying to think.

The Hezbollah had at that time about 80,000 artillery pieces

or rockets aimed at Israel.

Are they any better, in terms of cyber,

than Israel at this point in time?

I hope they're not.

[LAUGHS] Sure.

That's what you're supposed to say.


We're working hard to make sure they're not.

That's our job in the IDF.

I just retired, but I think nothing has changed since I

retired, since it was Sunday.

So I hope nothing changed in the last two days.

But we're still working very hard

to keep up to speed with our enemies.

Everyone's doing a good job in Israel,

I hope better than what they are doing.

But they're also working hard as well.

So it's not an easy job to do.

Well, you know, they were sending all those rockets.

I mean, I was there in Kiryat Shmona,

and this rocket went zooming overhead,

and it was burning on the hillside, I remember,

where we were.

They couldn't target anything.

Now have they improved their control

of where they are going to send those rockets?

Sadly, they have.


Sadly, they have.

They have grown in the numbers and in the accuracy

and in the range.

So the IDF in Israel has a very hard job,

a very challenging job, in preventing war, first of all.

We don't want war.


No one wants war in Israel.

So we have to deter our enemies.

So we're working on a day-to-day basis to keep the accuracy

and the range of the missiles, and we're not going to let--

Israel has stated very clearly that it's not

going to let its enemies grow stronger indefinitely.

It's going to stop what needs to be stopped.

Does that Iron Dome help you?

Of course.

It is strategic capability.

Strategic capability.

It gives you strength.

It gives you good defense.

It gives you strategic capability

to absorb, think, and then if you need to,

attack when you are ready.

You don't need to--

even if you have something accurate,

it is stopped before it hurts innocent civilians.

So it's a very good thing.

I know this is out of your wheelhouse, so to speak,

but can the United States use a cyberattack against North Korea

and shut them down, do you think?

It's very hard to shut down someone.

It's a very, very big effort you have to make.

The thing is that the other side has

to be very cyber if you want to hit him with cyber.

That's the fact with cyber stuff.

North Korea is very good with cyber,

but they're way back in the country.

The country is-- because of the leadership, what

it does to its citizens, the citizens,

the normal citizen doesn't see anything digital.

The digital landscape of North Korea, my assumption is,

is not very developed.

So they can hurt who they want to hurt,

but it's very hard to hurt back in cyberspace,

in digital space, because they're undeveloped.

So it's something which is frustrating, maybe,

because the cyber warfare is another strategic tool you

would want to use, on one hand, but against enemies

that are not cyber, it's hard.

Well, that-- against Iran, there was that Stuxnet,

that the worm that was inserted into the computer system

to make them go crazy.

Is that possible again with Iran?

I mean, they're very close to getting nuclear weapons,

and they said they're going to destroy Israel

once they get them.

I think Israel's stated very well the red lines.

Iran is stating clearly its intentions,

and we need to do what we need to do

to stop Iran, whatever it takes, whether it's

kinetically or cyber.

So we will do what needs to be done, I guess.

I mean, that's no question.

It's a campaign.

It's not-- there's no way to stop

this in one day or another.

It's something you have to--

it's an ongoing campaign, a struggle between them and us.

We think we are right, and we intend to stay around,

and they can say what they want to say,

but we will stay around.

Well, you know, they've laid out

a blueprint of how they want to destroy Israel.

Does that mean a preemptive strike

against their nuclear facilities if they

get close to getting a bomb?

They don't have one yet, do they?

I hope they don't.

They're under the nuclear threshold, OK?

Just probably right before it.

So that means that with an effort,

they can cross that line.

I'm not sure the treaty that was signed with them

will prevent them from doing that.

What I'm sure is that we will be looking and testing and seeing

what needs to be said, wherever it needs to be said.

Well, Israel--

I don't want-- don't give me any military secrets,

but Israel knows what Iran is doing.

Am I correct in that?

I hope so.

I hope we do.

Oh, I know you hope so.

[LAUGHS] True or no?

I know what we know.

I don't know what we don't know.


All right.

Well, let's go back to this cyber range that Regent bought.

What capabilities does that thing have?

The capabilities are quite interesting.

It really puts teams of IT guys with students

that are studying how to protect systems.

Not only computer systems, information systems, but also

critical infrastructure computer systems, SCADA,

is what you call in the industry.

And it actually lets you walk through in different scenarios,

and they give you real life experiences.

And the very important thing is you can debrief later on

and see exactly who did what in what part of the drill.

So speaking about the learning cycle,

that has to be very fast.

You have to learn from what you do.

It's not enough to say, hey, everybody did well,

what, what, what.



You have to be very accurate.

Because it's a very scientific and accurate

point-to-point realm.

It's about bits and bytes and ones and zeros.

So you have to be very accurate in what you teach.

Because if you're wrong, it's going to go around you.

So it's a very accurate business.

So I think it really brings--

it will bring the students to a higher level of understanding.

And they will have battle field friction experience.

And the challenge, the range we'll have,

is to grow better and better and work

with other ranges of blue and red teams

and carry on ongoing campaigns.

Because what you really need to do these days,

it's not enough to defend yourself

from ransomware and stuff that has no address.

Those are things that have no address.

They just, they're sent, and they hope

to catch something in the net.

The problem is, when someone wants to hit you,

you have to defend yourself.

And he's looking at you.

If he doesn't come through the door,

he will come through the window.

And if he doesn't come through the window,

he'll come through the chimney.

So it's-- you have to be very persistent in your defense.

So that is a challenge that can be only met

if you practice and practice and learn and learn.

And I think it's going to get the students to be

much better than what they are.

Well, it sounds that way.

Is Regent doing what it should do in what you've seen so far?

I think it's doing great.

And I think it's going to be really pioneering

in many other issues around this.

And I think it's just the seed.

You're going to see things grow from that.

Appetite for the students, for industry,

that will see what it does, the impact it has.

I think it will be fantastic.

Well, listen.

I appreciate you being with us.

Brigadier General Ron Rosen.

Did you say you're retired?

Are you retired now?


When did you retire?

Two days ago.


Happy beginning of the rest of your life.

Thank you so much.

Thank you for being here.

Ron Rosen, Brigadier General IDF.


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