Cyber security is a versatile and ever-changing field offering challenges in everything from finance, to criminal justice to careers in the public sector.

Students who are pursuing studies in cyber security are encouraged to attend Texas Cyber Security Awareness Week (TexSAW) aimed at promoting cyber security education activities and collaboration.

The Cyber Security Research and Education Center at The University of Texas at (UTD) is hosting this four-day event featuring tutorials, a symposium, student workshops and a competition. Students may attend any or all of the events on October 18th - 21st on the UT Dallas campus.

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend workshops on Thursday, October 20th, to develop fundamental hands-on skills in cyber security including penetration testing, exploitation, and web application security.
  • Put their newly acquired skills to use in a cyber security competition on Friday, October 21st, with a chance to win prizes.
  • Hear from and talk to national cyber security experts from government as well as industry and academia to make an informed decision in choosing a career path in the field.
  • Meet students interested in cyber security from other universities in Texas.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas, the event will feature speakers from universities, business and government agencies including the FBI and the NSF.

Student Hardware/Software Requirements

Participants are required to bring their laptop computers to conduct hands-on experiments on Thursday and participate in competition on Friday. Many exercises during the TexSAW event are based on virtual machines that you need to run on your computer. Please make sure the following requirements are addressed:

  1. Bring a laptop that is capable of running "two" virtual machines simultaneously.
  2. Make sure your laptop has a wired ethernet port.
  3. Make sure your laptop has wireless interface and it works.
  4. Make sure you have python interpreter installed on your laptop. You can download python here.
  5. Install Wireshark or any other packet sniffer.
  6. Install a debugger or disassembler (OllyDbg is recommended but feel free to use your own favourite tool).
  7. Make sure you have an ssh client on your system. (Linux systems already have ssh, you can use putty for windows systems)
  8. Install VM Player on your laptop in advance. VM Player is free and can be downloaded from
    • The virtual machines to be used in the event conform to VM Player specification. Therefore, other virtualizitaion software might fail to run the virtual machines.
    • Current version of the VM Player runs only on Windows and Linux hosts. We do not support Mac for the time being.
  9. Please download the following virtual machines on your laptop and test if they are running on your system.

Program Schedule for Student Activities

Student Workshops

Thursday, October 20th
TI Auditorium
8 am - 8:30 amCheck-in and Continental Breakfast
8:30 am - 10:00 amWorkshop: Exploitation
James McFadyen Presentation Notes
10:00 am - 10:15 amBreak
10:15 am - 12:00 pmWorkshop: Penetration Testing
Mitchell Adair and Camron Quituga Presentation
12:00 pm - 1:00 pmLunch
1:00 pm - 2:45 pmWorkshop: Web Application Security
Thanh Duong Presentation
Student Competition

Friday, October 21st
TI Auditorium
8 am - 8:30 amCheck-in and Continental Breakfast
8:30 am - 12:00 pmCTF Competition
12:00 pm - 1:00 pmLunch
1:00 pm - 2:00 pmPresentation of Solutions
2:00 pm - 2:30 pmWrap-up and Student Feedback

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