Training cyber defenders around the world

Raytheon's Cyber Academy will help bridge the talent gap in the UAE

Dr. Keith Harrison, a CIAS instructor, provides pointers to a Khalifa University student.

The United Arab Emirates and other growing, global economies face a shortage of cyber defenders across broad areas of business and government operations, including managed security services, critical infrastructure protection and network security. In 2017, Raytheon began working to bridge the talent gap, launching a global cyber education program in the UAE that has since gained the interest of other Gulf region countries.

Raytheon is working with Khalifa University to elevate the program, which began as a four-day cyber educational workshop, to provide more advanced cybersecurity training to deepen students’ cyber skills and better prepare them for a professional career.

“Raytheon has a special relationship with the UAE," said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services business unit. “This partnership will advance our shared interests in global security. Raytheon's three decades of cybersecurity expertise, together with the advanced research at Khalifa University, will help build cybersecurity knowledge and skills in the Emirates."

The inaugural cyber skills workshop, taught by two experts from the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas-San Antonio in the U.S., taught 55 Khalifa students how to secure Windows server and operating systems.

“The students in this class were amazing — they were excited, motivated, very intelligent and very quick to pick up the concepts, and very quick to apply them in exactly the right manner,” said instructor Dwayne Williams, who also directs the Raytheon-sponsored National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, an annual contest for cybersecurity student teams.

“All of the students were excited, they were happy, and they were interested in learning more,” said Maha Kadadha, an Academy attendee.

The workshop concluded with a capstone cyber contest that paired students up to test their new-found knowledge.

“Their job was to use all the techniques and skills that they had learned during the previous three days of study. The students who did the best, coming out on top to win, found the most vulnerabilities,” Williams said.

Williams hopes to expand cyber competitions internationally. He believes the Raytheon-sponsored UAE Security Forum and Cyber Academy at Khalifa University will help generate interest from colleges and universities in the region.

Because of the global need for cyber talent and the success of the first global workshop in the UAE, Raytheon intends to reach out to other partner countries to extend the Cyber Academy.

“The Cyber Academy launch in the UAE was hugely important, because we know that in the Emirates and globally there is a cybersecurity talent deficit,” said Andy Yeman, Raytheon Emirates Cybersecurity business director. “We look to build on our work together with Khalifa University and further invest in individual students to develop Emirati knowledge-based cyber leaders."

Published On: 01/08/2019
Last Updated: 02/13/2019