Networking, Security, & Systems Administration Lab (NSSAL)


The Networking, Security and Systems Administration Lab (NSSAL) is located on the third floor of the Mathematics Building in room 322. NSSAL (pronounced nasal) is specifically tailored for courses related to Information Assurance (IA). See the table below for a full listing of undergraduate classes taught in this instructional lab.

NSSAL Lab undergraduate classes

List of Undergraduate Computer Science courses taught in NSSAL 

NSSAL provides twenty-five Apple iMac workstations installed with an extensive array of commercial and open source security-related software packages, including: IDA Pro, AccessData’s Forensic Toolkit, Wireshark, VMware Fusion, 010 hex editor, and zynamics BinDiff and BinNavi, to expose students to the same tools that IA professionals use in their day-to-day jobs. All of our IA classes contain extensive laboratory components that fully utilize these machines. IA faculty serve as NSSAL’s directors and have full administrative privileges over these powerful workstations, which have proven capable of handling a multitude of tasks including: servicing courses and homework, conducting research, and hosting workshops or outreach events. A detailed list of these workstations’ hardware specifications is provided in the table below.

NSSAL workstation hardware specifications

NSSAL workstation hardware specifications     

NSSAL is equipped with a High Definition, multimedia projector permanently installed onto the ceiling. At 3500 lumens, this projector allows bright, clear presentations even in well-lit environments, as depicted in the provided photos. Whiteboards cover seventy-five percent of the wall space in NSSAL, offering plenty of writing area for students and instructors alike. The other twenty-five percent of the lab’s wall space contains outdoor windows, which provide ample natural lighting. The westernmost wall doubles as the projector’s screen and a writing space as it’s entirely coated with Dry Erase paint. This allows instructors the flexibility to write, draw, and interact upon projected images. For lab instructors, there’s a dedicated pod positioned in the front of the lab, equipped with a workstation attached to the projector via HDMI, with an additional HDMI connection available for an auxiliary laptop. 

Instructors pod in NSSAL

Instructor’s pod in NSSAL 

When NSSAL is not occupied for courses, the room is open and available to computer science students working on IA coursework twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.