Developing Instructional Laboratories for Computer SEcurity EDucation

Project Summary


The objective of the SEED project is to develop an instructional laboratory environment and laboratory exercises (called SEED labs) for computer system security education. The goal of our labs is to help students focus on (1) grasping security principles, concepts, and technologies, (2) applying security principles to design and implement security mechanisms, (3) analyzing and testing systems for security properties. (4) applying security principles to solve real-world problems.

Open Source Design

These lab documents are released as open source documents. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify these documents under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. A copy of the license can be found at



  • (New) NSF Capacity Building: Spreading SEEDs: Large-Scale Dissemination of Hands-on Labs for Security Education. ($827,385, 09/2014 - 08/2018. Grant No. 1303306).
  • NSF TUES/CCLI: SEED: Developing Instructional Laboratories for Computer SEcurity EDucation ($451,682, 01/2007-12/2011. Grant No. 0618680).
  • NSF CCLI: Designing Laboratory Materials for Computer System Security Courses Using Minix Instructional Operating System ($74,984, 01/03-12/05. Grant No. 0231122).
  • Syracuse University Vision Fund ($5000, 01/2003-12/2003)


  • (New) September 30, 2014: We have developed a new lab to give students a first-hand experience on the recently discovered Shellshock vulnerability.
  • (New) Through a recent grant, NSF will provide money for us to organize workshops, which are intended to provide training for instructors to use the SEED labs. All the cost will be covered by the grant. The application process will start in Spring 2015, so stay tuned.
  • January 15, 2014: After 6 months of testing, we now officially release a new VM image (SEEDUbuntu12.04) for SEED labs. This image replaces the previous SEEDUbuntu11.04 image. You can get the new VM from the Lab Setup page.
  • January 2, 2014: The SEED Labs are being adopted by many schools worldwode. See this map for details.
  • April 12, 2011: Several SEED labs are linked to the web site of the textbook, Introduction to Computer Security by Michael T. Goodrich and Roberto Tamassia (follow the "Projects" link).
  • September 21, 2010: The SEED project is in a news published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
  • September 2010: The SEED project is highlighted by TUES/CCLI in a report titled New Challenges, New Strategies: Building Excellence in Undergraduate STEM Education (Page 16). The report, sent to Congress recently, "highlights 17 projects that represent cutting-edge creativity in undergraduate STEM classes nationwide".


Security Lab Development Efforts at Other Places