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Fully packaged Linux-based computer science lab exercises with an initial emphasis on cybersecurity


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  • Consistent lab execution environments and automated provisioning via Docker containers
  • Multi-component network topologies on a modestly provisioned laptop computer
  • Automated assessment of student lab activity and progress
  • Individualized lab exercises to discourage sharing solutions

Labtainers provide controlled and consistent execution environments in which students perform labs entirely within the confines of their computer, regardless of the Linux distribution and packages installed on the student's computer.  The only requirement is that the Linux system supports Docker.  See the Papers below for additional information about the framework.

This Beta release of the Labtainer framework includes over twenty lab exercises summarized here.   The framework is free and open, making it easy for educators to create and share their own Labtainer exercises.

Labtainer Student and Instructor Downloads

Framework installation (15 MB tar file for installation on a Linux host, e.g. VM)

Virtual Machine images (Optional 4 GB VM images for use with VirtualBox and VMWare)

Instructor Guide

Student Guide

Lab Developer Downloads (includes source files for individual containers)

Developer Framework installation (160 MB)

Lab Designer User Guide


Irvine C.E., Thompson,  M.F., McCarrin, M., Khosalim, J., "Labtainers: A Docker-based Framework for Cybersecurity Labs", 2017 USENIX Workshop on Advances in Security Education, Vancouver, BC August 2017.(PDF) (Presentation slides)

Irvine, C.E., Thompson, M. F., and Khosalim, J., "Labtainers: A Framework for Parameterized Cybersecurity Labs Using Containers", Proceedings National Security Summit, Huntsville, AL, June 2017. (PDF)


If you'd like to be notified of updates to the Labtainer framework, please send an email request to mfthomps at nps.edu.

You may also be interested in using CyberCIEGE in your classes.  This is a teaching tool we have developed that uses a video game format.

The Labtainer framework and labs are being developed with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Many of the Labtainer exercises come from the SEED project at Syracuse University, http://www.cis.syr.edu/~wedu/seed/labs.html.