News Brief #3: The FORESIGHT Federated Training Environment

The development of the FORESIGHT Federated Training Environment was based on the Moodle open-source platform. The developed Federated Training Environment offers to trainees advanced training delivery features, such as animation displays that can boost the participants’ comprehension and level of understanding, discussion chat rooms for asking questions and seeking guidance for the technical issues they encountered during the learning process. Moreover, the Federated Training Environment offers a selection of assessment tests aiming to quantify the understanding of the training content. Furthermore, the built-in modules that are included in the FORESIGHT Federated Training Environment are used for conducting surveys and in-class opinion polls. The developed platform supports assignment submission and performs a timely evaluation of the uploaded reports and trainees’ performance. 

The training module instructor can select a pre-defined questionnaire and the trainees’ answers can be automatically graded or, alternatively, the instructor can create a tailored list of questions to evaluate the comprehension level of the training material and provide data analytics and statistics among the number of participants. In addition, the developed platform can significantly enhance the quality of the learning content, since it can connect the training platform to external resources, such as videos, electronic files, and presentation materials. Finally, the trainees can provide their feedback through the interactive evaluation module, which can be utilized to improve the training methods and the delivery of the training context.  

To complement the theoretical part of the learning modules, additional learning material was delivered during the FORESIGHT pilot execution, focusing on guides to perform hands-on laboratory exercises, videos introducing the Cyber Ranges configuration properties and functionalities, as well as instructions on how each participant can access the training test beds and perform the online exercise.  One of the methods that is principally used in developing exercises for Cyber Security training and evaluating its outcomes is based on a system called Capture The Flag (CTF). Each participant needs to interact with the CTF system when an objective is accomplished by submitting a proof of success, or a “Flag”. The Flags can be in a consecutive order, i.e., to gain access to the next task, a participant is required to finish the current task and submit its Flag. The system keeps in track the overall Flags submitted by the trainees and the administrator has real-time access to the progress of the participants.

The developed FORESIGHT training material was used to support the three project pilots in the Aviation, Power Grid, and Naval domains. The training content was designed in a bottom-up approach, allowing the trainees to gradually acquire the fundamental knowledge and principles before advancing to more complicated cyber security concepts. In the framework of each of the developed training programmes, the successful accomplishment of several consecutive training modules typically results in a certification achievement.