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North Carolina National Guard Cyber Shield 2020

North Carolina Army National Guard Maj. Justin Hillberry, center, North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, right, and  Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020.  Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina Army National Guard Maj. Justin Hillberry, center, North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, right, and Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020. Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, seated left, and Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020.  Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, seated left, and Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020. Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, discusses cyber operations with North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) and North Carolina State Government cyber experts during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the NCNG’s Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020.  Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. NCNG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, seated next to the flags, also met with the participants   (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, discusses cyber operations with North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) and North Carolina State Government cyber experts during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the NCNG’s Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020. Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. NCNG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, seated next to the flags, also met with the participants (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, right, gives a command coin to North Carolina Army National Guard Sgt. Michael Gibbs during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the NCNG’s Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020.  Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, seated far left, also met with the NCNG and North Carolina state government participants  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt, right, gives a command coin to North Carolina Army National Guard Sgt. Michael Gibbs during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the NCNG’s Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020. Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. Erik A. Hooks, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, seated far left, also met with the NCNG and North Carolina state government participants (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina Army National Guard Robbie Felicio, North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Chief Information Officer, left, and NCNG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the NCNG’s Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020.  Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina Army National Guard Robbie Felicio, North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) Chief Information Officer, left, and NCNG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Todd Hunt discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the NCNG’s Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020. Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina Army National Guard (NCANG) Spc. Azaria Christian, left, NCANG Sgt. 1st Class Ben Fernandez and North Carolina Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Justina Gonzalez update computers as part of Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020.  Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina Army National Guard (NCANG) Spc. Azaria Christian, left, NCANG Sgt. 1st Class Ben Fernandez and North Carolina Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Justina Gonzalez update computers as part of Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020. Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina Air National Guard (NCARNG) Chief Master Sgt. Randy Conner, left, NCARNG Staff Sgt. Latrica Quander-Freeman and North Carolina Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Todd Webster discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020.  Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

North Carolina Air National Guard (NCARNG) Chief Master Sgt. Randy Conner, left, NCARNG Staff Sgt. Latrica Quander-Freeman and North Carolina Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Todd Webster discuss cyber operations during Cyber Shield 2020 held at the North Carolina National Guard’s (NCNG) Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2020. Cyber Shield 2020 is a virtual national exercise where NCNG participants join their National Guard peers across the country, testing their response to real world cyber threats to government and private industry networks and information technology infrastructure. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Robert Jordan, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

09/28/2020 – KURE BEACH, N.C. – --

KURE BEACH, N.C. – Soldiers and Airmen of the North Carolina National Guard participated in Cyber Shield 2020 at the Fort Fisher Training Center, Kure Beach, N.C. on Sept. 21 – 25, 2020.

Cyber Shield 2020 is a national event with over 500 participants, including 21 groups from the East Coast to Guam, replicating the real world interaction between National Guard, state and territory agencies.

Each group includes a blue team defending the network and a red team attacking or exploiting the network. The exercise is supported by a virtual range control and fusion cell which provide technical support and liaison with other federal and state agencies.

“Being able to work across physical locations, trouble shooting technical problems at each site, we formed this team during Cyber Shield 2020 exercise leveraging Microsoft Teams and other platforms to collaborate, so to do all this is very rewarding,” said North Carolina Army National Guard Maj. Justin Hillberry, Blue Team 22 leader and Cyber Security Specialist.

The blue team is responsible for defensive cyber operations to include conducting incident management response for state and local partners, augmenting state partner information technology teams, defending the virtual network which simulates a mission partner network, and intercepting attacks and exploits.

The blue team is comprised of 20 personnel, five from Virginia and 15 from North Carolina from the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, North Carolina Air National Guard and North Carolina Army National Guard.

“The North Carolina National Guard is heavily involved in incident response,” said Hilllberry. “This is an opportunity to grow and train our force, increase the fidelity of our state partnerships both of which gives the state of North Carolina the best possible support during an emergency, incident or event.”

The red team is responsible for emulating threats and opposition forces. They use known tools to compromise the blue team network. Red team leaves evidence of compromise and provides exploits for the blue team to interact with.

Red team tactics include phishing, water hole attack and exploiting outdated software and expired software patches.

“It is an opportunity to practice offensive capabilities, which is a valuable learning experience, during the year I focus on defending our network, here at Cyber Shield I get the chance to be offensive which makes me a better defender,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Timothy Hitch, Red Team 22 Leader.

Cyber Shield Range Control, designed the network architecture for the digital range. The digital range includes the traffic generation, back end development and is the virtual environment that the entire Cyber Shield exercise is operating on.

The digital range took 13 months to build. This is the first year that the range has been designed and operated by military personnel, and is the foundation for Cyber Shield for 2021 and beyond.

“The most rewarding aspect of this project has been working with all the states and territories from the East Coast to Guam, making sure they are set up to have a productive Cyber Shield exercise,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Schaecher, Telecom Manager, North Carolina National Guard.

Cyber Shield 2020 provided an opportunity to develop, train and exercise cyber forces the ability to conduct cyber incident response and computer network internal defensive measures. This effort allows National Guard Cyber experts to coordinate, train and assist federal, state and industry network owners that are threatened by cyberattack.