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A Lightweight Collaborative Virtual Computer Laboratory for Cybersecurity Education

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2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference


Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Publication Date

April 7, 2017

Start Date

April 7, 2017

End Date

April 8, 2017

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Paper Authors


Abdullah Konak Penn State Berks

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Abdullah Konak is a Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University Berks. Dr. Konak received his degrees in Industrial Engineering, B.S. from Yildiz Technical University, Turkey, M.S. from Bradley University, and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Konak’s current research interest is in the application of Operations Research techniques to complex problems, including such topics as network design, network reliability, facilities design, and data mining. Dr. Konak has published papers in journals such as IIE Transactions, Operations Research Letters, Informs Journal on Computing, IEEE Transactions on Reliability, International Journal of Production Research, and Production Economics. He has been a principle investigator in sponsored projects from the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Labor, and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.
Dr. Konak currently teaches courses on Database Management Systems, Information Security, and Technology-based Entrepreneurship. He is a member of IIE, IIIE and INFORMS.

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Anuvrat Sheoran Pennsylvania State University - Berks Campus

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I am a senior at The Pennsylvania State University taking Security Risk Analysis with the Cyber Security option as my major and Information Sciences & Technology as my minor. I am certified by The National Security Agency with the certificate of Achievement.

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As more and more cybersecurity related threats emerge, it is imperative that students learning cybersecurity are trained to deal with the threats swiftly and efficiently. Pennsylvania State University - Berks Campus have been using a virtual computer laboratory called Collaborative Virtual Computer Laboratory (CVCLAB) over the last decade to provide students with hands-on experiences in cybersecurity topics. The CVCLAB is quite functional and has made a significant impact on student learning. However, the CVCLAB can be a resource intensive in particularly when many students use it simultaneously, and it can be also costly and difficult to maintain. In this paper, we present the blueprint of a new virtual computer laboratory (Lightweight (L)-CVCLAB) based on the command prompt interface. The L-CVCLAB has been designed for teaching technical skills related to host and network penetration testing. Students get access to the L-CVCLAB through an SSH client and then connect to multiple Linux-based virtual computers specifically configured for cyber security training. Without the overhead of a desktop or web-based client, the L-CVCLAB has a better response time and can scale well for large classes. The paper also presents sample activities that can be performed in the L-CVCLAB and preliminary findings of student experiences.

Konak, A., & Sheoran, A. (2017, April), A Lightweight Collaborative Virtual Computer Laboratory for Cybersecurity Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Mid Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.

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