The Eco-Friendly Hacker: A Sustainable Lab for Teaching Ethical Hacking




Information Security, Ethical Hacking, Course Design, Ethical Hacking Lab


Teaching ethical hacking requires access to a safe and controlled environment where students can practice skills presented to them. This can be a problem since many modern students attend class remotely, which makes lab access challenging. Virtualization systems such as Virtual Box can help alleviate this problem. However, many students have overburdened and underpowered systems that are impractical for hosting multiple virtual machines. A portable, standalone networking lab solves this problem. However, acquiring new devices with limited use can cause an environmental impact larger than the benefit received. In this paper, an eco-friendly, portable hacking lab is built from discarded tablet computers. These computers are configured with vulnerable versions of popular operating systems (OS) and are made available to students for lab assignments. A portable ethical hacking lab means students are no longer required to install and configure virtual machines, and teaching faculty are no longer required to support the diverse collection of student-owned devices. This saves students and faculty time repeatedly creating lab devices while providing a positive ecological benefit by using devices that would otherwise become e-waste.