Iowa State University this month launched the Information Systems Security Lab (ISSL), an education and product and security testing site that includes a self-contained “Internet in a room” test bed for simulating complex networks and cyberattacks.
The lab builds on existing programs in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Information Assurance and is operated by the school’s Information Assurance Center, a National Security Agency center for academic excellence in information assurance education.
“We have had a very robust graduate program since 2000,” said IAC Director Doug Jacobson, “But we noticed there is a gap in the Midwest in working with local industry and government.”
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Smaller businesses, especially contractors for sensitive areas such as defense, are facing more government security requirements and often need help with regulatory compliance for network and information security. Both industry and state and local government also need a trusted source for information on the reliability and effectiveness of security products, said ISSL director Julie A. Rursch.
“There is a need for an environment where tools can be tested before they are put into production,” Rursch said. Relying exclusively on a vendor’s product claims “can be a scary proposition.”
A primary resource for ISSL is the ISEAGE Lab, (pronounced "ice age") the Internet-Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment, a hardware-based testbed that Jacobson calls “our Internet in a room,” used for simulating distributed attacks and network modeling. ISEAGE has been funded through Justice Department and National Science Foundation grants.