Cyber Threat Range helps GV students prepare for careers in cybersecurity


GVL / Samuel Nelson

Jack Blake, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s School of Computing offers four degree programs and eight minors for students to specify their degrees in. The cybersecurity bachelor’s degree is the newest program of the four that are offered. 

Within the cybersecurity major, students study techniques to “protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data, information and computer systems against attacks.” The cybersecurity program offers state-of-the-art labs and technology for hands-on learning and emphasizes theoretical and practical applications to prepare students for the real world.

Earlier this month, GVSU’s Applied Computing Institute (ACI) partnered with the Michigan Cyber Threat Response Alliance (MiCTRA) to create the Cyber Threat Range.

The Cyber Threat Range is a computer lab located on GVSU’s health campus. Its utilities will be offered to students in the School of Computing, providing them with a “sandbox-like” environment to practice cybersecurity skills and perform drills. 

The computers in the Cyber Threat Range are linked to a closed network that’s separate from all other computers at GVSU to provide a safe place for students to practice cybersecurity skills without the risk of damaging the GVSU network. 

Students within the program are excited to take advantage of this opportunity, especially as the cybersecurity program at GVSU continues to grow. 

The addition of the Cyber Threat Range is a huge step for the cybersecurity program,” said Brendon Werner, an undergraduate student studying cybersecurity. “It offers students to start getting hands-on practice that many universities don’t offer.”

Werner said cybersecurity jobs are needed for nearly every industry to keep information secure, and as technology evolves so does the need for cybersecurity professionals. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for cybersecurity is expected to grow 35% from now until 2031.

“There has always been a gray area in terms of what hackers can and cannot do,” said undergraduate cybersecurity student Ben Saunders. “I think this allows students who are interested in finding vulnerabilities in systems a safe way to explore.”  

Most of the features of the range will be open to students beginning in the fall 2023 semester.