IT Program to Roll Out Cyber Range for Cybersecurity and IT Students


Brennan Galvin

A server rack not currently in service

The IT program may be rolling out a new cyber range, a place for cybersecurity people to practice their skills in a competitive environment, for the cybersecurity elective.

“We’re trying to make this [the server room] a cyber range,” said Melissa Perrin-Smith, the IT teacher at A-TECH. “I have a bunch of people coming down to work on the infrastructure.”

The cyber range would allow the IT and cyber departments to practice their skills in battling hackers and managing servers on the internet without the need of external services. The problem is how few of them there are.

“Currently, there are very few of them,” said Perrin-Smith. This could be solved with building a cyber range at A-TECH. 

“This right now is a working lab, so we’re going to take it that next step with the help of one of our alumni CJ Sattler”, said Perrin-Smith.

CJ Sattler is an A-TECH graduate who is helping with the process by getting them up and running.

“He and his team have offered to support us in making what is a cyber range. They’re going to help us set up the servers and set up a firewall so they can learn that higher level of security.” said Perrin-Smith.

As for right now, the cybersecurity students use a form of emulation software called “VMware.” Essentially, VMware is a software that allows users to simulate any computer they want to; a PC in a PC.

“Virtual machines are really good but there are some people who don’t quite get that virtual aspect, this way they can actually see what is happening to the internet as things move through the internet” Perrin-Smith added, “It’s just like anything else that’s pretend you tend to think it’s pretend and it’s just a game, but cybersecurity is more than just a game. I think this would help them realize that.”

Perrin-Smith and students appear to have high hopes for the cyber range. The cybersecurity club is still taking more people if students are interested. Students can see Perrin-Smith for more details. 

As for when the cyber range will be built, Perrin-Smith said, “I hope to get it done by the end of the year.”