Through a collaborative partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, Idaho National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratories, USA Nuclear guided efforts to secure Federal funding to develop the Tracer FIRE program. The joint proposal established an implementation strategy, timeline, and real-life scenarios that illustrated the practical applications of the program to protect assets and minimize the risk of sabotage.
What is the Tracer FIRE program?
Tracer FIRE (Forensic Incident Response Exercise) is a research and simulation virtualized environment developed by Sandia National Laboratories. It can be utilized as a live exercise program, collaborative research platform, or educational environment to help cybersecurity incident responders, analysts, and operators become proficient in critical skill areas. It has since expanded its utility as a research platform for cybersecurity projects.
The Tracer FIRE program is designed to promote critical thinking and problem solving through training – using a combination of advanced tools and capabilities to respond to incidents. It is based on real-life scenarios modeled from case study analysis of adversary techniques and exploit methods. Participants walk away with a more in-depth understanding of the cyber kill chain and its importance when applied to incident response.
We adapted Tracer FIRE for direct application in nuclear terrorism response.
The importance of cybersecurity incident preparedness to our nation’s critical infrastructure is well recognized. Both domestically and internationally, organizations are more regularly including cybersecurity in their risk assessments. There is a clear need for practical, hands-on exercises to improve frontline defenders’ ability to detect, respond, and recover from cyber incidents, especially as it relates to threats against nuclear infrastructure.
That’s why, together with our partners, USA Nuclear is tailoring existing Tracer FIRE scenarios and material to address the specific needs of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy, and our bilateral partners. The modified Tracer FIRE program will be used to train nuclear security professionals in the practical skills required to effectively respond to cyber incidents. This is allowing USA Nuclear to better and more efficiently advise our clients in strategies that combat the risk of nuclear terrorism – keeping America and her allies safer, more alert, and better prepared.