SYRACUSE, N.Y (WSYR-TV) — A string of cyber attacks is over for now at Syracuse University’s College of Engineering, but they weren’t real.

They were part of a workshop put on by one of the nation’s leading cybersecurity experts, SU Computer Science Professor Kevin Du.

For the fifth straight year, Du has been gathering college computer science professors from around the nation to Syracuse for this important workshop.

These professors are learning how to go back to their institutions to train the next generation of cyber defenders.

Dan Bennett of Edinboro University in Pennsylvania is one of them.

He says, “This is going to be a great resource when I get home, something that we can use quickly.”

Bennett is trying to start a cybersecurity program at Edinboro.

One of the exercises at this workshop involved gaining remote access to another person’s machine.

“As educators what we are trying to do is teach the students what are the problem areas, so how the attacker can attack,” Du says.

Du created an environment in SU’s Link Hall where they can launch some very powerful attacks that won’t damage systems in the outside world.

He tells NewsChannel 9, “We don’t just teach on paper we’re saying you’ve got to do it because otherwise, you don’t know how to defend.  So that’s why we teach them how the attack works and then they look at how do we defend against.  We play both sides.”

Du says with so many systems out there now many are vulnerable to attack because of security holes, or weak security and the hackers know where to look.

“If the developer of the system is not well trained in cyber security very likely they are going to have a security flaw,” he says.

Bennett adds, “We primarily train computer programmers and they need to know some of the things they’re going to be attacked on so they can absolutely prevent them.  One of the things that are going to be wonderful is that we teach them some techniques but when they see these they’ll much better understand why we teach them some software techniques.”

Du will host another group of college computer science professors next week for a similar cybersecurity program.


For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9