Vulnerability of the Day: Concrete Demonstrations for Software Engineering Undergraduates

Andrew Meneely and Samuel Lucidi

Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

Track: Software Engineering in Education
Session: Advanced Software Engineering Education
Software security is a tough reality that affects the many facets of our modern, digital world. The pressure to produce secure software is felt particularly strongly by software engineers. Todays software engineering students will need to deal with software security in their profession. However, these students will also not be security experts, rather, they need to balance security concerns with the myriad of other draws of their attention, such as reliability, performance, and delivering the product on-time and on-budget. At the Department of Software Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, we developed a course called Engineering Secure Software, designed for applying security principles to each stage of the software development lifecycle. As a part of this course, we developed a component called Vulnerability of the Day, which is a set of selected example software vulnerabilities. We selected these vulnerabilities to be simple, demonstrable, and relevant so that the vulnerability could be demonstrated in the first 10 minutes of each class session. For each vulnerability demonstration, we provide historical examples, realistic scenarios, and mitigations. With student reaction being overwhelmingly positive, we have created an open source project for our Vulnerabilities of the Day, and have defined guiding principles for developing and contributing effective examples.