The learning objective of this lab is for students to gain first-hand experience on vulnerabilities, as well as on attacks against these vulnerabilities. Wise people learn from mistakes. In security education, we study mistakes that lead to software vulnerabilities. Studying mistakes from the past not only help students understand why systems are vulnerable, why a "seemly-benign" mistake can turn into a disaster, and why many security mechanisms are needed. More importantly, it also helps students learn the common patterns of vulnerabilities, so they can avoid making similar mistakes in the future. Moreover, using vulnerabilities as case studies, students can learn the principles of secure design, secure programming, and security testing.
The vulnerabilities in the TCP/IP protocols represent a special genre of vulnerabilities in protocol designs and implementations; they provide an invaluable lesson as to why security should be designed in from the beginning, rather than being added as an afterthought. Moreover, studying these vulnerabilities help students understand the challenges of network security and why many network security measures are needed.