What would happen if you lock a bunch of cyber security training enthusiasts in a medieval castle for a few days?

This is not a beginning of an anecdote, but a real scenario that took place in the Castle of Palmela in Portugal on the last week of October. 17 TRANSITS cyber security training material authors, trainers, TF-CSIRT community experts and training organisers got together for the first ever major TRANSITSI materials review aiming to prepare new versions of all four modules of the course: Organisational, Operational, Technical and Legal. TRANSITSI has been running for 15 years and it was time to give it a fresh look and feel.

The idea to update the training materials has been brewing for a while. In addition to two regular TRANSITSI courses a year run by G√ČANT, the materials are being used for trainings all over the world and the feedback from the trainers and trainees was often that some content is outdated, more relevant and recent examples are needed, and the slides are too busy. Another reason for the review was that it has been decided to release the TRANSITS materials under a Creative Commons license so that they could be used more widely and combined with training materials from FIRST, but that required a thorough check of visuals and text.

So the task in hand was big, but the experts were optimistic and eager to have new versions ready by the end of the 3-day retreat. Although they were not literally locked up, the castle was remote enough for it not to have any temptations outside. So the groups worked from morning till late, rewarded by delicious Portuguese dinners and wines at night. And the results are great – all modules have a revised structure, plenty of new case studies, examples, updated exercises and are almost ready to be shared. There is still some work to do, but the aim is to release the improved materials by the end of this year.

Only the thick walls of the Castelo de Palmela will remember blood, sweat and tears shed, pasteis de nata eaten and glasses of wine consumed during this week. It was all worth it, as the community will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labour for many years to come.

With thanks to: Jaap van Ginkel, Magda Haver, Silvio Oertli, Przemek Jaroszewski, Sven Gabriel, Jeffeny Hoogervorst, Peter Peters, Roeland Reijers, Melanie Rieback, Marius Urkis, Antonio Merola, Serge Droz, Don Stikvoort, Andrew Cormack, Irina Mikhailava, Sigita Jurkynaite and Nicole Harris – our TRANSITS retreat team!