The City of Sierra Vista, Ariz. is partnering with the University of Arizona to help university students of develop real-world experience in social engineering techniques and improve city employees’ ability to identify cyberattacks.

Along with Social-Engineer, LLC, the University of Arizona’s College of Applied Science & Technology (CAST) has “developed a course to teach CAST students the methods, psychology, and tools used by top social engineers under the direction of Christopher Hadnagy, CEO of Social-Engineer and adjunct professor of social engineering at CAST.”

“One of the hardest tasks in educating students about social engineering is finding ways to provide skills practice that are both legal and ethical,” Hadnagy said in a press release.

Sierra Vista will allow CAST students to attempt non-malicious attacks on employee computers, with the city employees practicing the identification of cyberattacks.

“This partnership will help protect our people and give them a world-class education on recognizing and avoiding cyberattacks,” said Alex Rubio, CIO for the City of Sierra Vista. “Real attacks can be costly, time-consuming, and difficult to repair. This partnership will not only save the City money but will make all of our employees much more secure.”

The University of Arizona’s CAST program is located Sierra Vista, and is “one of the nation’s top cybersecurity training facilities, operating in a unique online AI environment,” according to a press release.

Social-Engineer, LLC is “a world-leading security company that specializes in understanding hacking attacks that are occurring on a global scale and focuses on tactics cybercriminals use to influence employees via vishing, phishing, and adversarial simulation.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.