The DETER Project offers hands-on security education to a wide range of colleges and universities. Teaching cybersecurity is a core component of DETER and we have focused on creating a substantial set of experimental methods and tools for educational use.

Security educators can use DETERLab in their course curriculum, giving their students a realistic experience in cybersecurity. Since its inception DETERLab has been used by 192 classes, from 127 institutions and involving 13,486 users.

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A Shared Learning Facility

As a learning facility, DETERLab fills a significant gap in security instruction, providing educators around the world with substantive, thoroughly vetted facilities and materials. Instructors and students conduct these lab exercises using DETERLab's dedicated hardware and networks via remote access to DETERLab's Web-based user interface. These practical exercises provide students with the ultimate active learning experience, providing a direct, hands-on experience that can inspire imagination and the motivation for further research.

Re-usable Lab Exercises

A key feature for educators is the reusable nature of lab exercises that have been developed by the DETER Project team and collaborators. These exercises are developed specifically for educators and intended for classroom use.

Beginners welcome

Teachers and students can use DETERLab’s education features without needing to be experts in DETERLab's advanced research capabilities.

How it works

An instructor gets started by creating an educational project in DETERLab, and then assigning exercises to their students. Students are then able to conduct each exercise as an experiment in the lab.

As students run their experiments, all network communication is isolated from the Internet, enabling their exercises to engage malicious code and perform the same destructive actions that occur in real-world cyber attacks — without posing any threat to other DETERLab users or to the Internet at large.

Each instructor has free access to both project administration tools in DETERLab itself, as well as DETER's online education portal, where they can:

  • Select and assign exercises.
  • Manage student accounts.
  • Grade exercises using the grading sheet in the teacher manual.
  • Create user accounts for students.
  • Set access controls to limit students' access to one another's work.
  • View usage reports for their class.

Real-world Exercises

A variety of exercises, available via the education portal, cover a wide range of topics including:

  • buffer overflows,
  • code injection and command-injection attacks,
  • man-in-the-middle attacks,
  • worm modeling and detection,
  • botnets, and
  • DoS and DDoS attacks.

Each of these exercises is a packaged experiment that demonstrates one of these topics, providing students with direct observation of attacks and interaction with targets. Students create and manipulate an instance of an experiment using an intuitive, Web-based interface to request, reconfigure, or release lab resources to either run an experiment "out-of-the-box" or with the student's variations in network topology or computing elements.

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