Last night was an all-nighter for a crew of students in the computer program at Iowa State University. Doug Jacobsen is professor of electronics and computing at ISU who’s come up with concepts from the “ICE-age” cyber test lab to a program that teams students with companies to solve their security needs. He says students have a lot of fun defending themselves in the digital war games. They get to see how much fun it is, he says, describing the simulated invasion and defense as a “spy versus spy” scenario. What makes it fun, he says, is being up against professionals who are very good at what they do. “It really is like a big chess game that you’re playing.” A siege by a “red team” of security professionals kept the students on their toes closing loopholes in security and patrolling their firewalls all night. Jacobsen says it’s not just a war game, it’s professional training for the computer students. There’s good demand for these students in the workforce, and some of the pros on the “red team” are potential employers, so it’s a great chance to work with professionals in security. Jacobsen says some 30 students spent a couple weeks setting up the computers and connections, out at the ISU research park’s ISEage facility, a test lab funded by the U.S. Justice Department to simulate, investigate and re-create cyber-attacks over the Internet.
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