Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Syracuse University

Attack Lab: Attacks on TCP/IP Protocols


The learning objective of this lab is for students to gain first-hand experience on vulnerabilities, as well as on attacks against these vulnerabilities. Wise people learn from mistakes. In security education, we study mistakes that lead to software vulnerabilities. Studying mistakes from the past not only help students understand why systems are vulnerable, why a ``seemly-benign'' mistake can turn into a disaster, and why many security mechanisms are needed. More importantly, it also helps students learn the common patterns of vulnerabilities, so they can avoid making similar mistakes in the future. Moreover, using vulnerabilities as case studies, students can learn the principles of secure design, secure programming, and security testing.

The vulnerabilities in the TCP/IP protocols represent a special genre of vulnerabilities in protocol designs and implementations; they provide an invaluable lesson as to why security should be designed in from the beginning, rather than being added as an afterthought. Moreover, studying these vulnerabilities help students understand the challenges of network security and why many network security measures are needed. Vulnerabilities of the TCP/IP protocols occur at every layer. In this lab, students need to conduct attacks against these protocols in both Minix and Linux systems.

Lab Description and Tasks (pdf)

    For instructors: if you prefer to modify the lab description to suit your own courses, you can download the source files (Latex) from here.

Recommended Time for This Lab: 2 weeks

Helpful Documents

Student Feedbacks

To help us understand how effectively this lab has enhanced students' learning in computer security, we asked students to fill out an anonymous survey right after they finish the lab. We started to conduct the survey since 2007. The survey results depicted in the following are aggregate results over several years.