TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Feb. 3, 2016) -- Most Floridians are probably aware that the Soldiers and Airmen of the state's National Guard forces are there to help in an emergency or deployed to combat.

But what those citizens may not see are those who protect them virtually.

The Florida National Guard Computer Network Defense Team, or CND-T, is an eight-Soldier team responsible for protecting the Florida National Guard's information systems, and ensuring that state departments and the Guard can work together in the event of an emergency.

"Even when we aren't at drill, we have a presence," said Maj. Oscar Torres, the CND-T commander. "Most of us do some facet of this in our civilian lives, but we also help the full-time troops ensure their networks are secure."

During a recent exercise with state agencies, the CND-T used six different types of cyber attacks, such as distributed denial of service and cross-site scripting attacks to sharpen their ability to combat malicious attempts to deny service, exploit vulnerabilities, deliver malicious code, disrupt communications and mine data. The exercise also involved mock incursions from hacktivist groups, terrorist organizations and nation-states, said Capt. Michael Southerland, assistant CND-T chief.

"Building the relationships between the Department of Military Affairs and these state agencies is really the point of these exercises," Southerland said. "When you're dealing with cyber incidents, it's unlike any other state emergency."