The Platoon Platform

Platoon is an open-source platform for cyber security education and practices developed by Yanyan Li and Mengjun Xie at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The objective of the Platoon platform is providing security educators and learners with a free tool to create a team-oriented cyber security competition/practice environment with a typical business network setting that can be automatically deployed on an off-the-shelf computer. The following figure shows the system’s high-level design.



The Platoon platform can be used in various security education scenarios, e.g.,

  • College/university security class labs
  • Team training for cyber defense competitions
  • IT department security training
  • Cyber security competition hosting


  • Cost-effectiveness: Building a Platoon platform only needs one PC with two Ethernet adapters, and VMware vSphere ESXi hypervisor, which is free to download and use.
  • Team-oriented: The Platoon platform enables team-based cyber security practices since cyber security operations in the real world often involve multiple people for handling different system components and security tasks and therefore require team work.
  • Scalability: The platform is scalable to support multiple blue teams to practice/compete at the same time from different locations.
  • Deployability: The Platoon platform can be deployed automatically with minimal human intervention (e.g., configuring static public IP address/DNS for Internet connection).

Video Demos

The following video clips demonstrate some scenarios of using the Platoon platform.

Source Code & Sample VM Images

Platoon is free and open source (under Apache License v2.0). It has been shared with the following institutions and individuals. We’d love to share it with you and hear your feedback.

If you want to give it a try, please contact Dr. Mengjun Xie ( with the following information:

  1. Your full name and title
  2. Your affiliation and its full mailing address
  3. Your institutional email address and personal website (if available)
  4. A brief description about how you are going to use the Platoon platform (e.g., class teaching, competition hosting)

You should receive our response pretty soon with the information about source code downloading and platform installation.


Yanyan Li and Mengjun Xie. “Platoon: A Virtual Platform for Team-oriented Cybersecurity Training and Exercises“. In Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference on Information Technology Education (SIGITE ’16). pages 20-25. DOI: Boston, MA, USA, 2016.

pdf-icon Platoon Paper    pdf-icon Presentation Slides

Bibtex Record

 author = {Li, Yanyan and Xie, Mengjun},
 title = {Platoon: A Virtual Platform for Team-oriented Cybersecurity Training and Exercises},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference on Information Technology Education},
 series = {SIGITE '16},
 year = {2016},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-4452-4},
 location = {Boston, Massachusetts, USA},
 pages = {20--25},
 numpages = {6},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/2978192.2978230},
 acmid = {2978230},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {cybersecurity practices, team-oriented exercises, virtual platform},


This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Award Number 1338102 and Amazon with an AWS in Education Research grant.

© Mengjun Xie 2016