PeopleTec Demonstrates Cybersecurity Capabilities at 2022 Cyber Summit
Article by AL.com - September 23, 2022
When you think about security, you may think of high walls, guards, and locked doors to protect property. In the digital world, cybersecurity comes into play. A safe and secure digital environment involves precautions to prevent virtual trespassing and access to private information or data. Stability, safety, and resilience in cyberspace are critical to our way of life, economy, and national security. As technology is ever-evolving, so is the research that surrounds cyber.
The National Cyber Summit, a conference focusing on the latest cyber research and advancements, is the nation's most innovative cybersecurity technology event. PeopleTec, a Huntsville-based employee-owned tech company, attended the 2022 Cyber Summit as a diamond sponsor and showcased its advancements in cyber research from the past year. As cyber services become more crucial for the security of our nation, PeopleTec is advancing cybersecurity through research and development to ensure the safety and mission readiness of our U.S. government and commercial utility companies.
New and Developing Technologies
PeopleTec showcased five of their most recent advancements in the cyber domain at the 2022 National Cyber Summit. The first, THIDS (Threat Hunting Incident Detection Syslog), is a set of tools that can be configured quickly and makes Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) possible at a lower cost. Cyberattacks on the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) are becoming more sophisticated. Because the DoD needs the DIB to support critical warfighting missions, it is crucial to protect it from advanced attacks. THIDS streamlines Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) configuration/management and the cyber threat analysis process for DIB partners.
Phil Higginbotham, a professional in cyber intelligence employed by PeopleTec, presented a Featured Track Session at the National Cyber Summit. Higginbotham discussed THIDS as an affordable alternative to commercial-off-the-shelf SIEM platforms to help DIB partners prepare for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 compliance.
PeopleTec showcased its latest anomaly-detecting capabilities using software powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). The AI/ML-powered software developed by PeopleTec analyzes network traffic and alerts defensive cyber analysts monitoring the sensors when anomalies are detected. They also demonstrated their vulnerability assessment process and penetration testing methodology used to secure ICS/SCADA systems and protect our nation's critical infrastructure.
In recent years, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) has seen tremendous growth. PeopleTec is applying cyber assessments to MBSE models as part of its ongoing research and development, which they presented at the National Cyber Summit. Two Enterprise-level cyber tools were also demonstrated by PeopleTec: CORT (Cyber Operational Risk Tool) and the Cyber Resiliency Guide. Both provide situational understanding of cyber risk to mission for commanders and DCO analysts.
PeopleTec Specializes in Cyber Resiliency
When asked about PeopleTec's specialties in the cyber field, Rob Goldsmith, Senior Vice President at PeopleTec, explained that most of PeopleTec's work is defensive, meaning they help their customers secure their business systems, weapon systems, and networks from possible attacks. PeopleTec also works on compliance, such as Risk Management Framework (RMF) and CMMC.
As part of their offensive cyber support, elite cyber professionals at PeopleTec perform incredibly complex penetration testing. This team has the necessary expertise to simulate attacks that one would anticipate from a highly developed nation. These professionals perform advanced attacks on their customers' systems to determine how effectively they work in the real world, which in turn allows their customer to better protect against unwanted access.
Additionally, PeopleTec employs a group of specialists ready to assist users with hardening their systems and finding cyber weaknesses such as exposure to ransomware attacks or advanced persistent threats. For many customers, PeopleTec also performs repairs and delivers the system back to the customer for maintenance.
Along with the cybersecurity services offered, PeopleTec has a lab, called the CyberTec Solutions Center (CTSC), where cyber specialists perform cyber research and development, malware reverse engineering, and penetration tests. Deb Fowler, a Director at PeopleTec, explains that the CTSC provides a replicated test environment where the company can test a customer's system without affecting the live system. "The CTSC is an important driver of our successes. It gives us the capability to work customer systems in an environment where testing will not disrupt operations," notes Fowler. PeopleTec's cyber personnel use the CTSC as a training ground to keep their skills refined, as well.
PeopleTec currently supports the U.S Army, U.S. Air Force, Missile Defense Agency, and commercial, utilities, and municipal customers to improve the organizations' cyber resiliency and mission readiness. The company is the program manager for a U.S. Army command's mission planning and cyber hardening efforts on a multi-million dollar task order. The scope of work includes research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) of the impact of advanced cyber-attacks on mission critical systems, employing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to advance the state of the art.
Supporting the Community and Mission Readiness Efforts
Formerly, the word "cyber" was used to refer to system administration or network administration. In 2005, the terms "cyber" and "cyber warfare" became popular when bad actors began to exploit computer systems and networks to steal information, money, and disrupt them from performing as intended.
There were originally only four war-fighting domains in the DoD (land, sea, air, and space). The government created a fifth domain (cyber) to address the impact of the nation's enemies trying to use computers, networks, and software against the United States. As a warfighting domain, the DoD not only protects against attackers but also uses offensive cyber strategies and tactics under the direction of U.S. Cyber Command.
PeopleTec's ongoing research and development projects increase the DoD's mission readiness. Fowler says innovations like AI and ML are providing game-changing solutions for our military. She states, "At the end of the day, the warfighters are who we are protecting and providing capabilities to so they can be successful."
Goldsmith emphasized that cyber advancements are exciting for protecting not only the warfighter but also critical infrastructure and commercial customers. PeopleTec has aided municipalities, utilities, and community leaders in preventing cyber-attacks by testing and safeguarding their networks as well as training the organizations how to defend against potentially devastating attacks such as a ransomware attack. He explains, "It's exciting because what we do matters. It helps our fellow citizens and our neighbors in a very practical way."
PeopleTec's Culture Drives Cyber Innovation
From monthly trainings and a Cyber Community of Practice to maintaining certifications and refining skillsets, PeopleTec invests in their employees and promotes a people-first culture, attracting talented and knowledgeable individuals that help the company move forward. Goldsmith reiterates PeopleTec's thriving culture, noting that it was inducted into the Best Places to Work Hall of Fame this year by the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce for being voted by employees as a best place to work in the county ten years total.
PeopleTec certainly has the technology, but it is the people who develop that technology that set PeopleTec apart from their competitors. With over one-third veteran workforce, PeopleTec understands the most difficult challenges that warfighters face and is dedicated to solving those problems in cutting-edge, creative ways. For more information about PeopleTec's capabilities in cybersecurity and beyond, please visit https://www.peopletec.com/.