ITI hosts virtual two-day cybersecurity for operational technology training session


ITI Communications

In late April, the Information Trust Institute (ITI) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign co-hosted a virtual two-day training session on cybersecurity for operational technology (OT) with Idaho National Laboratories.

The training was made possible by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a standalone federal agency under DHS oversight that is focused on the nation’s security of cyber and infrastructure.

ITI hosted 75 people in the first part of two training sessions. The first session focused on the intersection of cyber risk and operational technology. The second session will take place this fall.

ITI Senior Associate Director Dominic Saebeler
Dominic Saebeler

“We had excellent turnout and active participation from a diverse group of individuals who represent critical infrastructure in the Midwest,” said Dominic Saebeler, ITI senior associate director. “This was a tremendous opportunity for the University of Illinois to partner with INL and CISA to make this type of training available to attendees who would otherwise not be able to travel to Idaho for what is normally a week-long, in-person training program.”

The virtual training began with a four-hour Introduction to Control Systems Cybersecurity (101) taught by INL trainers. Then, INL trainers started the Intermediate Cybersecurity for Industrial Control Systems (201) course.  ITI wrapped up the training with a series of brief sessions that included a summary of recent ITI cybersecurity-focused research.

 ITI provided insights into lessons learned from cybersecurity exercises, including those from a multi-year blackstart training exercise. Leadership also provided an overview of its role in leading, through the University of Illinois’ Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute, a national Hub & Spoke program to expand the reach of cybersecurity training and workforce development programs.

Casey O'Brien
Casey O'Brien

CISA, INL, and ITI are in the processes of scheduling Part Two, the hands-on training component, which will be held at the University of Illinois early this fall.  ITI was represented by Tim Yardley, Casey O’Brien, and Saebeler, who each presented and were available to field questions from the attendees.

“We received a lot of positive feedback about the ITI portion of the training as well as INL’s 101/201 control system series,” said Casey O’Brien, ITI assistant director for cyber defense education and training.  “ITI plans to design and deliver more training that emphasize heightened awareness and increased skills to those protecting our critical infrastructure.”