c-Watch Accomplishments

During the summers of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 the Cyber Resilience Institute ran  internship programs for graduate and undergraduate students in computer science, information technology, law, and international affairs. In 2020 we expanded to a mixed cohort of mid-career professionals and college students. Training is delivered on a virtual platform and students get hands-on practice with cyber threat hunting best practices on a threat intelligence platform. At the end of each training program students are given the opportunity to participate in a pop-up Security Operations Center (SOC) for a global event.

2017 Security Operations Center

Program Features in Summary

The c-Watch training

  • Has been organized by the Sports-ISAO program since 2016, and is administered by Cyber Resilience Institute, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity.
  • Is comprised of accomplished undergraduate and graduate students and mid-career selected from leading universities and mid-career professionals to participate in this intensive three-week program. 
  • Provides real world, real time, interdisciplinary cyber threat training across the domains of cyber intelligence, social media, and international cyberspace conflict using a wide spectrum of tools and techniques.
  • Enables students to develop cross-disciplinary knowledge and important critical thinking skills vital to threat hunting, cyber security and information sharing professionals.
  • Is structured to deliver training to diverse teams of up to 5 participants each. Each team of 5 is led by a professional and accredited faculty member from a participating university.

Graduates of the c-Watch program are eligible to enter CrowdWatch, a national network of cyber c-Watch interns, whom we make available for a wide range of project work including staff augmentation and outsourced analytics. CrowdWatch provides participants compensation opportunities while they gain valuable real world-work experience. Our ultimate goal is to place CrowdWatch participants into full time paid internships and jobs.

2016 Summer Olympics 

  • Monitored and reported Anonymous and Fancy Bear attacks
  • A Pop-up SOC hosted at a Colorado National Guard facility
  • Demonstration of public/private partnership operations and coordination with the FBI Field Office
  • Analysis and visualization of Mirai data sets

2017 IAAF World Championships

  • Over 20 Corporate Sponsors
  • College students from over 30 Universities
  • Collaboration via reporting to DHS
  • Fusion of Social Media and cyber attack data
  • Analysis of Grizzly Steppe data

2018 Winter Olympics

  • Discovery and tracking of the Olympic Destroyer Malware
  • Tracking of multiple influence operations
  • Identification of disinformation campaigns

2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup

  • Discovery of significant St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity that has now been made public through indictments of Russian citizens and the recent reports to the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on social media influence operations by 28 countries and the IRA’s extensive and well-funded operation.

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

  • Ongoing monitoring of APT activities throughout the games; topics that generated attack traffic included gender pay inequality and LGBT rights. 
  • During this operation it became much more clear to us how criminal gangs were using “free” video-streaming sites to lure victims to sites infected with malware.  Once at the infected sites users were subjected to various ad click fraud schemes, botnet recruitment and other maliciousness. 
  • Ad fraud is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise; our threat hunting documented the mechanics of several of the criminal gangs involved in this activity.

2020 COVID-19 Hack & Hype

  • The global novel coronavirus pandemic has caused public health and economic upheaval all around the world. Our Summer 2020 cohort focused on the hack and hype from threat actors and fraudsters.
  • Our findings were shared with the Global Health Crisis Coordination Center and other stakeholders.

We are currently recruiting for the upcoming c-Watch Fall 2020 training program.  Our objectives are to train the students on basic skills in cyber threat hunting using both a threat intelligence platform and social media threat hunting tools. We will be using the hack and hype around the US 2020 Elections for our Capstone research theme.

During each of our previous programs a wide range of speakers from many global corporations participated in the lecture series.  This included representatives from Facebook, Target, Chevron, Symantec, TruSTAR, Dunami, InfoCyte and the Cyber Threat Intelligence Network, among others.  Students were trained on the methods and models of cyber threat hunting with the intent of establishing a crowd-sourced cadre of cyber threat hunters skilled in understanding the trade craft and nomenclature.

Sucessful graduates from our programs are eligible to be nominated to our CrowdWatch cadre.

CrowdWatch participants possess superior critical thinking skills vital to threat hunting, cyber security, information sharing, and SOC professionals. Direct access to this highly qualified group offers cost savings to organizations requiring full time cyber professionals with real world work experience, or access to talent for contract-based, or project work. Our ultimate goal is to place CrowdWatch participants into full time paid internships and jobs.