Teaching Adversarial Thinking through a Web-Based Game

Akriti Anand, Richard Baldwin, Sudha, Kosuri, Julie Nau, and Ryan Wunk-Fink
Cyber Defense Lab
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
(joint work with Alan Sherman, Marc Olano, Linda Oliva, Edward Zieglar, and Enis Golazewski)

Friday, April 9, 2021
remotely via WebEx:

A recording of the talk can be found here.


We present our progress and plans in developing MeetingMayhem, a new web-based educational exercise that helps students learn adversarial thinking in communication networks. The goal of the exercise is to arrange a meeting time and place by sending and receiving messages through an insecure network that is under the control of a malicious adversary.  Players can assume the role of participants or adversary.  The adversary can disrupt the efforts of the participants by intercepting, modifying, blocking, replaying, and injecting messages.  Through this engaging authentic challenge, students learn the dangers of the network, and in particular, the Dolev-Yao network intruder model. They also learn the value and subtleties of using cryptography (including encryption, digital signatures, and hashing), and protocols to mitigate these dangers.  Our team is developing the exercise in spring 2021 and will evaluate its educational effectiveness.

About the Speakers:

Akriti Anand ( is a MS student in computer science working with Alan Sherman.  She is the lead software engineer and focuses on the web frontend.
Richard Baldwin ( is a BS student in computer science, a member of Cyberdawgs, and lab manager for the Cyber Defense Lab.
Sudha Kosuri ( is a MS student in computer science.  She is working on the frontend (using React and Flask) and its integration with the backend.
Julie Nau ( is a BS student in computer science.  She is working on the backend and on visualizations.
Ryan Wunk-Fink ( is a PhD student in computer science working with Alan Sherman. He is developing the backend.


Alan T. Sherman,

Support for this event was provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant DGE-1753681.
The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays.  All meetings are open to the public.