Building a Cyber Range for UVA Computer Science Students; An Analysis of the Effects of Open-Source Cyber Weapons

Hildebrand, Chase, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Morrison, Briana, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Wayland, Kent, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Since the inception of the internet, hackers have made it their mission to exploit its vulnerabilities. As the number of connected devices increases each year, so does the number of cyberattacks targeting them. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated and rampant, highlighting a serious problem: there are not enough people to defend our networks from these threats. Addressing the gap in the future cyber workforce starts with enhancing students' educational experience in their collegiate years. Unfortunately, while the University of Virginia (UVA) has resources for computing research, those resources are either restricted to a select group or insufficient for simulating realistic environments conducive for cultivating practical skills. My technical project is an undertaking to build a cyber range for UVA students, enabling them to get more hands-on experience with cybersecurity. Additionally, when teaching cybersecurity, it is incredibly helpful to use the open-source software written by the cybersecurity community to emulate how attackers attack. However, an increasing number of attackers are abusing publicly available open-source tools to attack their victims. My STS project focuses on a somewhat controversial subset of these tools—command and control frameworks—which are tools that let attackers control their victim's systems remotely, and aims to dig deeper to better understand the extent to which these frameworks are helping or hurting the security of our society.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Cybersecurity, Cyber Range, OpenStack, Networking, Open Source, Command and Control Frameworks, Cyber Weapons, Malware

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Technical Advisor: Briana Morrison

STS Advisor: Kent Wayland

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