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02/28/2003 - Network Security Classes at EWU

Thanks to recent state and federal grants, two Cyber Security classes will be taught for the first time spring quarter at the Eastern Washington University (EWU) SIRTI location. These courses, Network Security, taught by John Shovic, PhD., and Web Security, taught by Jason Estes, sound like much too much fun for hard-core computer science courses.

In Estes Web Security class, the students will spend the quarter searching for and repairing security holes in a Web application they built as a class project last quarter. This application was built using Active Server Pages, a programming tool Microsoft uses for Web development. While the students are feverishly trying to find and patch the security holes in the operating system, the server software, and the application itself, students in the Network security course, taught by Shovic, will be trying to find those holes, attack, and cause the server to crash. The Web Security class will defend, try to outwit, and generally try to make their server impervious to attack. This is designed to emulate those headline provoking, real world attacks feared by industry and government alike.

When not trying to destroy the Web security server, the Network Security class will do many other activities, such as “war drives.” This means driving around Spokane with wireless enabled laptops searching for insecure wireless networks. When the students find a wireless signal, they will determine if the signal is encrypted and log the number of unencrypted wireless networks they find. They will also check whether the signal carries further than necessary. Shovic expects that the students will find a majority of unencrypted wireless networks carrying much further than needed.

Along with the fun, Network Security students will learn theory, how to spot intrusions, and how to defend against attacks. Web Security students will cover topics in data encryption, secure socket layer programming, acquiring and installing server certificates, firewalls, SQL Injection principals and their defense strategies, and attack mitigation. According to Shovic, if you aren’t concerned about computer security before you take this course, you will be afterwards.

In both classes, students will be required to sign a form stating that they understand the exercises they will be performing in class are for demonstration purposes only. They may be prosecuted and expelled if they use this information in any way outside the classroom.

For more information, contact John Shovic at: jshovic@wardner.comjshovic@wardner.com, or Jason Estes at: jestes@mail.ewu.edu.

Billie Moreland
 
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