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Workshop at Syracuse University helps prepare educators against cyberattacks

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse University Engineering and Computer Science Professor Kevin Du teaches a workshop on how to defend against cyberattacks

Computer science and technology educators from around the world have been at Syracuse University this week to learn how to teach students the best defense against cyberattacks.

The first rule of defense in the digital world, according to Syracuse University Engineering and Computer Science Professor Kevin Du, is knowing how the cyberattack happened. To do that, he has developed over 30 hands-on laboratory exercises that computer and information educators can use in the classroom.

Du said the key is taking an attack that happens over dozens of hours, and condensing it.

"Take the real world attack, try to understand and simplify it, and then reduce it to a few hours work," said Du. "And the student can see exactly how it works. And even though it is simplified, you can understand."

Du has developed more than 30 labs that condense the qualities of a cyberattack. Once students can get in the mind of a cyber-criminal, it’s easier to fight the attack.

"When something happens and they have a skill set to solve the problem, to defend against that. We are trying to give them a skill set," he said.

Du said cybersecurity is a growing field in education, and attendance by educators looking to teach cybersecurity at these workshops has almost doubled. The National Science Foundation has funded the labs.