Used Globally, Cybersecurity Labs Spring from Syracuse University
In June, Professor Kevin Du hosted two training workshops on a set of open-source, hands-on cybersecurity exercises. The no-cost Security Education (SEED) lab exercises are developed at Syracuse University and used all over the world for computer and information security education.
In the annual workshops, Du and a team of computer science students and alumni taught 70 instructors from colleges and universities across the U.S. how to use the labs. The attendees will take the knowledge that they gained back to their own institutions, where they will incorporate them into their own teaching.
Cindy Grove, an instructor at Phillips Community College in Arkansas, was one of the educators in attendance. She says, “I am always looking for new tools to use in my network technology courses. The expertise of the students and professors in this workshop gave me the in-person training I needed to teach these practical cybersecurity exercises to my students.”
Each workshop was a learning experience for everyone involved. In addition to Du, this year’s instructors included Yousra Aafer G ’11, Bilal Alsharifi G ’17, Amit Ahlawat G ’12, Ashok Bommisetti G ’16, Paul Ratazzi G ’92, Kailiang Ying G ’13, Haichao Zhang G ’14, and Xiao Zhang G ’16.
Xiao Zhang says, “As students, we had the opportunity to develop and polish these labs. I have experience in teaching students as a teaching assistant, but teaching educators was unfamiliar at first. In the end, we were working together to convey our knowledge, so it became okay. I think our workshops are a good hands-on opportunity for all of the instructors to come learn the labs, then take them and teach them in their security-related courses.”
Du’s mission is to reach 700 colleges and universities through the SEED workshops over the course of the next four years. Following this year’s workshops in Syracuse, Du took the first step in fulfilling a goal to expand his SEED workshop to other countries by traveling to Korea to hold an international workshop for faculty members and undergraduate students at the Seoul Women’s University.
He says, “When I started this project 14 years ago, my goal was to develop labs that I could use in my own classes. Seeing that over 500 institutes worldwide are using my labs is really beyond my imagination. I am especially pleased when I hear that even high schools are starting using them.”
The National Science Foundation funds the SEED labs and the on-campus training workshops. Additional information, about future workshops as well the full catalog of lab exercises, is available on the SEED Lab website or by contacting Professor Du at firstname.lastname@example.org.