The first exercise using the University of Hawaii’s newly christened cyber range “Po’oihe” took place on the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus, August 2-4. Some of the top hackers in the world squared off against cyber defense teams from the Hawaii National Guard, Pacific Air Forces, federal, state and county agencies, several utilities and private companies. More than 120 “cyber warriors” and observers were involved in the exercise. The cyber range is used by government agencies, financial institutions, utilities and private industries that desire to train personnel in cyber security and to exercise and test their cyber defenses.
“Po’oihe” means “tip of the spear” in Hawaiian. The router, servers and other hardware for the cyber range were donated by federal, state and commercial organizations and assembled by a team consisting of U-H Schools of Ocean, Earth, Science and Technology and Information and Computer Science personnel, Hawaii National Guard soldiers and airmen and industry professionals. “Building a cyber range at the University of Hawaii provides a huge Homeland Security benefit as well as economic driver for the people of Hawaii”, said Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, State Adjutant General and Homeland Security Advisor for the State. “Cyber defense is tremendously important as so much of our lives—banking, transportation, power, communications and more– are all tied to computer networks. It will also provide high-tech job opportunities for our young people here in Hawaii”.
“This was definitely intense training for our soldiers”, said CWO Chris Elmore, team captain of the network defenders from the Hawaii Army National Guard. “Exercises like this will enable us to find vulnerabilities in our systems and to shore up our defenses again cyber attacks, and we are constantly being attacked”. At the end of the exercise the Hawaii Army National Guard team was judged by evaluators to be the best of those participating at fending off the cyber intruders.