Course Overview

The Cybersecurity: A Hackathon Experience is a combination of Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity Operations. It is delivered via solving a series of real world problems that at first introduces the students to the problem, then teaches them about the underlying technologies and finally asks them to demonstrate what they have learned by completing a variety of hands on exercises. The class ends with its “piece de resistance”, a hackathon during which teams of students (blue teams) will be competing to defend their systems from disruptive actions by the red team (hackers). Each team is put in charge of a set of computers representing a typical business and as the new IT team they have to fix all the challenges that they encounter while they fend off attacks by the red team.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability as they relate to cybersecurity.
  • Describe the tactics, techniques and procedures used by cyber criminals.
  • Explain how cybersecurity professionals use technologies, processes and procedures to defend systems from attackers.
  • Classify the various types of cyber attacks.
  • Explain how to investigate and evaluate system vulnerabilities.
  • Learn about incident response models.
  • Learn about laws related to cybersecurity.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 043

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate. 

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $4,095
  • Commuter: $3,166

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

“I loved the Cybersecurity: Hackathon Experience because it was a great introduction to what I plan on studying later on in life. This course taught me a lot of the basics that go into cybersecurity. The professor encouraged mistakes and let us know that it is all part of the process. I feel as though after taking this course, I have a head start on everybody that will be taking an undergrad cybersecurity course with me in the future.”

— Will T., Summer College – Online Cybersecurity Student, 2020

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus 2-Week Session II: Monday, July 22 – Friday, August 2, 2024MTWThF;
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Class will break for lunch daily for approximately one hour. Class times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Required Supplies

  • All students are required to have their own laptop computers which they need to complete their assignments.
  • The minimum configuration for the students PCs/Macs is 8 gig of RAM and 100 gig of free disk space which anything newer than a couple of years would easily match. All the software that we use are either open source (free) or free trials and we will install them in class so no need for students to have anything prepared ahead of time. However, it would be helpful to have MS Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to complete all their daily tasks and to be resourceful when experiencing difficulties. In case they run into any problems they should seek a quick resolution by reaching out to teaching assistants, the professor, or other students.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

The course is taught 9am-4pm Mondays to Fridays. Each topic is introduced via a short presentation followed by hands on exercises to reinforce the students learning.  The exercises are both individual and group based.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Field Trips

Partnering with Syracuse University’s Outdoor Education Center, students can look forward to participating in its Challenge Course and Zip Line activity to promote trust, camaraderie and long term relationships.

End Event

The class concludes with its hackathon which is held on the last day of the two week session. The hackathon organizes students into teams (blue teams) who will be defending their systems from attacks by hackers (red team). Each team receives a score by maintaining their systems uptime while fending off the red teams hacking attempts. While it is very competitive, it is also super fun.

Faculty Bios

Bahram Attaie – Assistant Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Bahram Attaie – Assistant Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies Bahram is an assistant professor of practice at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool) who has been specializing in cybersecurity.  In 2015 he was the director of the Northeast Collegiate Cybersecurity Defense Competition (NECCDC) hosted by the iSchool and in 2018 he was co-coach of the Syracuse University team that won the 2018 National Cyber Analyst Challenge.  Although he retired from full time teaching in December of 2017, he remains very active in cybersecurity and continues to teach part time as an adjunct professor.