#CyberFLASH: How to hack the hackers: IT pro train to counter attacks


When hackers attack your computer systems, and your best defences don’t keep them out, the only thing that can be done is to track down the crooks, find out who they are, retrieve the stolen data and shut them down. That’s what the RCMP did when the Canada Revenue Agency was hacked through the Heartbleed bug, and although the culprit in that case seems to have been a curious student, the technology and techniques they used were the same as those they’d employ to hunt down an international crime ring.

But, as with any skill – and cyber defence is a skill, and a complex one – investigators need to hone their techniques in a safe environment. A misstep in a real case could warn the criminals, or compromise the evidence. That’s where simulations come in, and they’re not photogenic ones with scary AIs like those we see in the movies.

There was no creepy computer voice providing play-by-play at the Symantec Cyber Readiness Challenge. But there was plenty of mischief afoot at the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA) conference in Halifax last week, as a room full of law enforcement and corporate security folks took part in a simulation of a cybercrime. The bonus: participation gave them credits towards the continuing education requirements for security certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

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