Compete to Defend Against Every Type of Attack in a High-Pressure Simulation Using VMware Security Products

What exactly is the Threat Hunter Challenge (THC)?

THC is a game that’ll put you in real cyber-attack situations. It’ll get your brain spinning, your forehead sweating, and your organization’s leadership counting their blessings, knowing if you mess up here, they won’t have to give a limb for ransom to Russian hackers to keep their businesses afloat. THC can be played in person or over Zoom. You’re presented with attack scenarios where a small mistake or delay will lead to threat actors jumping with glee as they share all the data they’ve stolen from you with their friends and families.  

The game is designed to teach cyber professionals how to respond to a wide range of cyberattacks through real-life attack simulations, using Carbon Black and NSX (network) security solutions. Participants face off against hyper-intelligent, havoc-starved digital adversaries in high-pressure scenarios. The goal of these adversaries is to rob you of your data, infect your systems, and halt your business operations as they laugh their way to the bank. 

Why Take Part in THC?

VMware’s Threat Hunter Challenge (THC) gives you the opportunity to experience and learn from real-life, clock-is-ticking-we-must-act-NOW cyberattack simulations – where your network, endpoints, reputation, and livelihood are under siege. You’ll discover effective tactics to combat these treacherous attackers and learn from your mistakes when you take just a little too long to secure your networks . You’ll face off against hyper intelligent threat actors using VMware Security products. Most importantly, you’ll get the practice you need to become an elite cyber defender, without putting your organization (or your job!) at risk. From fighting expertly engineered phishing intrusions and sampling tactics to reverse ransomware attacks, to combatting fileless malware and putting a stop to discrete lateral movement; THC is your all-in-one training ground to become a Master of Cyber Defense.  

Benefits of Participating

  • Enhance your cyber defense skills through a high pressure, clock-is-ticking situation, without the consequences to your organization  
  • Experiment different tactics and approaches to combat the most common (and lethal) attacks  
  • Increase your confidence in dealing with a variety of challenging attack scenarios 
  • Uplevel you and your organizations cyber defense skills  

Who can use the Threat Hunter Challenge?

THC is for current VMware customers, prospects, partners, and organizations looking to uplevel their cyber defense chops in a high pressure, high intensity, omg-I'm-so-nervous-but-need-to-look-calm setting (you know, like real life). You can sign up as a lone ranger or get the whole crew on board to unite and conquer (the more, the merrier). Get acquainted with these vicious attackers and their sneaky attack behaviors and learn how to defend against them using the powerful capabilities found in Carbon Black and NSX security solutions.

Let's understand THC with a scenario

It’s getting close to vacation time for Rod from Marketing, and he’s got one foot at work and the other on his approaching flight to the Caribbean. “Just six more hours, then it’s a mai tais in  the beach cabana for Rod!” he whispers, as he plops his laptop on his legs, flings it open, and starts perusing his emails. It’s the end of the fiscal year and Rod is expecting to hear about the status of his bonus. Suddenly, a new email lands in his inbox from his boss with the subject line “Status of Your Year-End Bonus.” Rod’s heart flutters, his arms tremble, and eyes widen. He clicks on the email.

“Hey Rod, bossman here. See attached letter for details on your bonus award. Congratulations on a great year!”

Rod’s heart begins to take flight, rising to heights beyond the clouds. “Honey! We’re upgrading to first class!” he screams towards the hall as he double clicks on the attached word document. At the same time, he forwards the email to a few of his work buddies, with the subject line “HA HA! Check out my BONUS, suckers!”

Bart, a Security Specialist, gets a ping. There’s some suspicious activity originating from Rod’s endpoint.

As a member of the Security Operations Center (SOC), Bart’s job is to monitor and protect his organization’s networks and systems from cyber threats. But despite his best efforts, sometimes a cyber-attack slips through the cracks and makes its way into his organization’s network. As Bart sits in front of his computer, he notices strange activity on the network. His monitoring tools are alerting him to anomalies that he’s never seen before.

This isn’t a normal event, it’s a cyber-attack. Bart quickly realizes pandemonium is just around the corner. Knowing that every second counts, Bart bursts from his chair and starts yelling CYBER-ATTACK! CYBER-ATTACK! so all the members of the SOC can hear and support him in this time of disarray. As the attackers penetrate his organization’s environment and are actively trying to steal sensitive data, disrupt operations, and gain unauthorized access to his systems, Bart and crew spring into action to isolate the affected systems and contain the attack. As they start to gather evidence and analyze the attack to try to understand what happened and how it can be stopped, they realize that the attack is evolving and adapting to their defenses, and every decision made could mean the difference between a successful defense and a devastating breach.

“What the hell is this, Bart!” calls out Sally from across the room. “What do we do now!”

“I…I…I DON’T KNOW!” Bart cries as he darts to the restroom, electing to spend the rest of the afternoon laying in a fetal position in the handicap stall. Bart’s team eventually finds a way to put an end to the attack and start to pick up the pieces, but the damage had been done, and the company’s reputation had been irreparably tarnished.

As a member of his organization’s SOC, Bart’s job was to protect his organization from this cyber-attack, using the tools at his disposal. For whatever reason, Bart wasn’t ready for this attack. If only he had experienced this situation before, and had the learnings and battle scars from having been through something similar…


About the Author

Roy Rosell is a Senior PMM within the Network and Security Business Group, focused on building programs to delight our customers, as well as helping VMsters (is that what we call ourselves?!) build better relationships with their customers. Outside of work, Roy is a professional soccer coach, “sights unknown” traveler, and an avid writer, having published his first book in 2017.

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