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Students Get Hands-on Experience With Open Testbed For Cybersecurity Research


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DETERLab's test exercises allow students to work through real-world cybersecurity scenarios in a lab environment.

The DETERLab Education Site is a free worldwide resource used to advance work in security fields.

Credit: Campus Technology

The University of Southern California's Cyber Defense Technology Experimental Research (DETER) Project oversees the DETERLab Education Site, a free worldwide resource. About 600 researchers in 16 countries currently use the lab to advance their work in security fields, while 67 institutions use the testbed to run cybersecurity activities as homework or semester-long labs in their computer science courses.

Students can work through the exercises without breaking or attacking "something for real," notes DETER principal investigator Terry Benzel.

The lab's activities include buffer overflows, man-in-the-middle attacks, worm modeling and detection, denial-of-service attacks, forensics, and monitoring. One professor from Washington State University doing work in power grids has developed exercises for securing distributed systems. Students can create and manipulate an experiment by using a Web-based interface to request, reconfigure, or release lab resources. They also can launch their own variations in network setup or computing components.

Once an instructor has access to the site, they create an educational project in DETERLab and assign exercises to the students. All network communication is isolated to enable the exercises to run malicious code and perform destructive actions that simulate real-life situations.

From Campus Technology
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