Founded in 1843, Sheffield Hallam University helps educate more than 30,000 students in the United Kingdom each year. After more than 100 years of teaching young minds and transforming lives, it is now known as one of the largest and most diverse universities in the world.
As one of the most progressive universities in the United Kingdom, Sheffield Hallam has placed a large focus on research and technology. This includes offering a Master of Science in Cybersecurity program which has been accredited by the National Cyber Security Centre, a government-based organization with a mission of making the United Kingdom a safer place to live and work.
In addition to this prestigious recognition, the university continues to demonstrate its commitment to providing gold-standard teaching and learning in cybersecurity with its innovative approach to education.
All our cybersecurity courses at Sheffield Hallam are built on a set of fundamental values that include connecting you to the world, working with others, pushing students to think in new ways, and offering a supportive atmosphere in which students may succeed.
Sina Pournouri, Course Leader of MSc Cybersecurity
Students and universities around the world were forced to adapt to a “new normal” when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and in many cases this meant switching students and staff to fully remote learning. Educators quickly learned this came with its own challenges, including work-from-home instructions and navigating new platforms for virtual teaching.
This was particularly difficult for Sheffield Hallam University because of the U.K.’s strict restrictions on gatherings as well as limitations on how far someone was able to travel. For students and staff who were used to participating in a cybersecurity curriculum based on in-person skill development, it seemed there wouldn’t be a solution that would allow them to continue their hands-on style of education.
This hands-on approach focused first on developing theoretical knowledge, followed by practical skills needed to work with computer networks and information systems. Sheffield Hallam also placed a strong emphasis on problem-solving and collaboration to support students as they worked towards entering the cybersecurity field immediately after graduating or enrolling in graduate-level continuing education. But with COVID-19 running rampant, this seemed impossible to maintain.
After searching for solutions that would meet their needs at a time when nothing seemed certain, a decision was quickly made after discovering how versatile, accessible, and engaging the Hack The Box platform is.
What stood out most to the Sheffield Hallam team were the Hack The Box Academy Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing modules, which allowed them to immediately overcome the challenges they encountered while having severely limited access to hands-on activities. This was made possible with Hack The Box’s Pwnbox - a customized, browser-based Parrot Security Linux distribution with pre-installed hacking tools.
Because of Pwnbox, students were able to access labs from anywhere at any time while also being able to perform activities within the labs regardless of their P.C. or laptop specifications. This level of flexibility was crucial for both new and returning students who were forced to conduct their studies virtually due to the pandemic.
“Another advantage of applying HTB is that we have access to a range of vulnerable machines, which allows us to regularly grow and refresh our training resources," Pournouri said. “Additionally, this helps students get acquainted with more real-world and industry-related case studies.”
After starting with the Hack The Box Enterprise Platform, the Sheffield team saw the positive impact it had on their students and quickly decided HTB needed to be integrated into more of their modules. Soon after, students showed significant interest in using the HTB Platform, and Sheffield Hallam more than doubled their licenses to accommodate their growing hacking community.
Since integrating Hack The Box into its cybersecurity curriculum, Sheffield Hallam has been able to continue its hands-on approach to education despite COVID-19 limitations while giving students a fun and engaging way to learn, discuss, create, and hack.
For Sheffield Hallam University
Began with 70 HTB licenses and increased to more than 200 as Hack The Box was integrated into more modules
Updated course material to include content and exercises more aligned with current industry trends
Increased number of machines used while teaching with a cloud-based platform
Reduced time spent preparing labs with the use of tags
Improved knowledge and skill sets within 5 months of using HTB
Introduction of self-guided learning provides opportunities for students to learn at their own pace on a remote basis
Gamified challenges allow for more engagement with course material
Access to the largest CyberSec community in the world with more than 1.6 million members
HTB helps hundreds of educational institutions such as Sheffield Hallam University to attract, train, develop, and engage cybersecurity students all from a single platform, and we’d love to do the same for you. Get in touch today to see how we can help.
Private lab environment and VPN server
Team and user administration & reporting
New machines added every week
Students can play machines and challenges on any device, including iPads and more
Professors can watch along with students’ cyber exercises
Academy for Business
Interactive, guided training paths
Certificates of completion
Unlimited access to content
Hack The Box provides gamified cybersecurity training to university students around the world, allowing them to practice and level up their cybersecurity skills through a hands-on, self-paced, and fun-fueled learning experience. The HTB online platform features hundreds of breakthrough virtual cybersecurity upskilling labs, a guided skills development platform, and customizable tabletop exercises that include cutting-edge challenges. By blending classroom theory with dynamic practice, HTB is preparing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for the rapidly evolving threat landscape.
Sheffield Hallam University
CyberJunkie, Sep 28, 2023