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12/31/2003 - EWU Launches Cyber Security Lab

Every network with an Internet connection is vulnerable to intrusion. It's the price paid for being wired to the world. Many software and hardware devices exit that will protect a network quite adequately from "script kiddies." But what do you do about the "Black Hats?" That question will be answered by Eastern Washington University students in Dr. John Shovic's Network Security Class starting the first week in January. To support the class, EWU has a brand new, state-of-the-art cyber security laboratory.

EWU's new Network Security laboratory, located in the SIRTI building, will be ready for use by twenty lucky Advanced Networking students during winter quarter. The class, being taught for the first time, is open to seniors and graduate students. The laboratory will also be used for the graduate and undergraduate Network Security and Information Warfare classes being taught at EWU as part of the Cyber Security Initiative. The laboratory was funded by the TINE Congressional grant to EWUs new School of Engineering and Computing Sciences.

The details of the equipment are enough to make a serious hacker salivate. The lab contains two network "pods," each mounted in a 36 inch tall rack.

Each pod consists of:
Ten Dual Processor Xeon ( 1 GB RAM, 200GB SCSI disk), each with four gigabit Ethernet interfaces.
One Dual Processor Xeon Server
All are running over native Linux with Windows 2000 on VMware.
Two twenty-four port Nortel Layer 2 Switches (with Layer 3 routing) capable of gigabit Ethernet.
High capacity uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

These computers are capable of being clustered together to build "honeypots." "Honeypots" are programs that simulate one or more network services on designated computer ports. An attacker assumes vulnerable services are running that can be used to break into the machine. The hacker is wrong. Instead the "honeypot" can track the movements of the hacker and preserve the data for law enforcement while giving access to no real data, no administrative controls, and no control over other intelligent devices attached to the network. EWU's "honeypot" will be used to attract and analyze hackers and attacks, and are able to communicate with up to four different networks at once.

These twenty-two computers represent the most advanced Network Security Laboratory in the Spokane area, and the entire system has been designed to hook into the gigabit speeds of the VPnet.

For more information, contact John Shovic, PhD,

Billie Moreland
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