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Improving Cybersecurity Education

It’s not easy to replicate a cyberattack and defense scenario for educational purposes.

Dr. Curby Alexander TCU
Curby Alexander, Ph.D.
Professors Liran Ma, College of Science & Engineering Associate Professor, and Curby Alexander are helping more students learn to protect individuals, companies and organizations.

Ma is the Principal Investigator (PI) and Alexander is co-PI for two simultaneous three-year projects funded by $1 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, split between Texas Christian University (TCU), Georgia State University and the University of Washington at Tacoma.

Ma developed labs for both projects in order to support inquiry-based learning, and Alexander will complete educational assessments. The first project teaches undergraduates how to identify, respond to and prevent attacks on mobile and wireless networks as well as wearable technology like smart watches. The second project replicates enterprise network attacks such as phishing or malware.

“It takes a lot of resources to replicate a network or system-level attack/defense scenario that is relevant to core security concepts, and traditionally that’s a barrier for some,” Alexander said. “These core concepts give students insights into mechanisms to protect network, data and privacy.”

The project team hopes to distribute the lessons as self-sustaining resources to improve cybersecurity education and ultimately protect the public.

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