Teaching Hands-On Network Security: Testbeds and Live Exercises

ABSTRACT

Teaching practical network security requires the use of tools and techniques to support the educational process and to evaluate the students’ newly achieved skills. Two fundamental tools that support a hands-on approach to network security are testbed networks and live exercises. Testbed networks provide a safe environment where the students can experiment with the techniques and security tools that they learn about. Live exercises represent a valuable tool to test the students’ newly acquired skills and to teach the students the dynamics of network-based attack and defense techniques. 

However, testbed networks and live exercises are difficult to set up and to manage. For this reason, there are very few courses that use dedicated network testbeds and/or offer live exercise as an integral part of the class work. This paper describes a series of testbed networks and live exercises that have been used in a graduate-level Computer Science course on network security and intrusion detection. Each testbed network is described in detail and its pros and cons discussed. Then, for each live exercise, the setup, execution, and lessons learned are discussed. The intended audience of this paper is represented by instructors – especially in colleges and universities – who want to start using this type of instructional tools but have no experience and are unsure of the possible pitfalls in their design and implementation.


AUTHORS

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of California, Santa Barbara, California
USA

Giovanni Vigna is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California in Santa Barbara. His current research interests include network and computer security, intrusion detection, security of mobile code systems, penetration testing, and distributed systems. In particular, in the last years he worked on STAT, a framework for the modular development of intrusion detection systems. He also published a book on Security and Mobile Agents and he is the Program Chair of the International Symposium on Recent Advances in Intrusion Detection (RAID 2003). Giovanni Vigna received his M.S. with honors and Ph.D. from Politecnico di Milano, Italy, in 1994 and 1998, respectively.

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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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