The objective of this collaborative project is to develop a public repository of practical security exercises for undergraduate curriculum. These exercises involve students in hands-on security experiments, demonstrating realistic threats and defenses. They provide active learning opportunities in computer security curriculum which has been typically taught using passive learning methods. The exercises are hosted on the shared, public and free DETER testbed at the lead institution, University of Southern California; the remaining four collaborating institutions, including Colorado State University, University of California Los Angeles, Lehigh University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte offer a unique and diverse experience in security education and research.
The setup of each exercise is fully automated with tools for customization of exercises; accompanied by detailed guidelines about common pitfalls; and supported by experiment health management to send students automated alerts when their experiment is not configured properly. The DETER testbed contains several traffic generation, visualization and experiment monitoring tools which allow students to work at a high-level via a simple GUI interaction as well as at low-level, command-line activities.
The project delivers portable, shared and publicly accessible exercises available from anywhere, at any time, making it more accessible than having to share a computer lab or requiring a complex physical setup. This project has a potential to reach a large number institutions via outreach activities such as tutorials at security conferences; workshops, and the DETER newsletter.