Information security is an important field within computer science, which also has relevance for everyday life. Besides theoretical and conceptual knowledge, students also need hands-on knowledge of how to install, configure, and administrate the tools of the trade like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, etc. To this end, the Chair of Parallelism and VLSI of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science offers a lab on information security with 5 lab stations corresponding to the selected tools. Instead of using physical machines, the lab is virtual, i.e. uses virtual machines (which eases set-back in case of misconfiguration) and allows working from home which also already (in principle) enables use by other, remote parties. As information security is a field in constant change, lab stations -- in order to be up-to-date and attractive for students -- must be updated frequently and new lab stations must be offered if needed. The latter can be very labor-intensive, in particular if expertise in specialized sub-fields is not at hand.
The project partners (TU Warsaw, ISSIA/CNR Genova) possess this expertise in the field of multimedia security (e.g. Voice-over-IP) and information hiding (e.g. covert channels) and are willing to contribute one such new lab station from each partner. However, it is necessary to integrate them into the existing lab infrastructure. At the same time, the project partners are interested in getting access to the existing lab stations in order to also offer a similar lab, either in times when the infrastructure is not in use by the FernUni lab, or in a joint lab course. To achieve this, the existing lab stations will have to be translated into the English language. At the same time, they can be updated to the latest versions of standards and tools. Finally, if the partners are to offer labs of their own, an English manual for teaching personnel must be provided.
The proposed project enables FernUni students to get access to further relevant information security tools, which could not be provided without the contribution from the international partners. At the same time, a joint lab course with mixed student groups from the partners enriches the student experience with respect to language and cultural issues, which is only seldom possible in distance education.