Instructors Trent Jaeger (tjaeger 'at' cse.psu.edu) and Hayawardh Vijayakumar (hvijay 'at' cse.psu.edu)
Location 215 Hammond
Meeting Times T-TH 4:15-5:30pm
Credits 3
Office Hours Jaeger (346A IST): M 2-3pm, Th 11am-12pm; Vijayakumar (339 IST): W 1-2pm, F 3:30-4:30pm

This course provides a graduate-level introduction to computer and network security. Students successfully completing this class will be able to evaluate works in academic and commercial security, and will have rudimentary skills in security research. The course begins with a tutorial of the basic elements of cryptography, cryptanalysis, and systems security, and continues by covering a number of seminal papers and monographs in a wide range of security areas.

Topics covered include network security, authentication, security protocol design and analysis, key management, software security, software vulnerabilities, operating systems security, access control, virtualization security, intrusion detection, web security, and other emerging topics. A detailed list of lecture by lecture contents, assignments, and due dates (subject to change as semester evolves) is available on the course schedule.

Most of the course readings will come from seminal papers in the field. Links to these papers will be provided on the course pages. In addition, the following books will be used for readings and as reference material.


The course will be graded on exams, reviews, assignments, projects, and class participation in the following proportions:

30% Projects
20% Mid-term Exam
30% Final Exam
10% Reviews
10% Class Participation

Course Projects

There will be four programming projects during the semester. These projects will focus on methods for both attack and defense (see Ethics Statement below). Research projects will be performed individually. Details of the projects will be given in class.


Understanding research papers is a key task in computer science research. In this class, students will provide one-page reviews of one of the research papers, when research papers are assigned. These reviews are due at the beginning of class, starting on 9/3/13.

Class Participation

Course lectures will be driven by the contents of assigned papers and book chapters. Students are going to be required to participate in discussions of the paper content during each lecture. Hence, the students ability to exhibit comprehension of papers is essential to a passing grade.

Lateness Policy

Project milestones are assessed a 15% per-day late penalty, up to a maximum of 4 days. Unless the problem is apocalyptic, don't give me excuses. Students with legitimate reasons who contact the professor before the deadline may apply for an extension.

Academic Integrity Policy

Students are required to follow the university guidelines on academic conduct at all times. Students failing to meet these standards will automatically receive a 'F' grade for the course. The instructor carefully monitors for instances of offenses such as plagiarism and illegal collaboration, so it is very important that students use their best possible judgement in meeting this policy. The instructor will not entertain any discussion on the discovery of an offense, and will assign the 'F' grade and refer the student to the appropriate University bodies for possible further action.

Note that students are explicitly forbidden to copy anything off the Internet (e.g., source code, text) for the purposes of completing an assignment or the final project. Also, students are forbidden from discussing or collaborating on any assignment except were explicitly allowed in writing by the instructor.

Ethics Statement

This course considers topics involving personal and public privacy and security. As part of this investigation we will cover technologies whose abuse may infringe on the rights of others. As an instructor, I rely on the ethical use of these technologies. Unethical use may include circumvention of existing security or privacy measurements for any purpose, or the dissemination, promotion, or exploitation of vulnerabilities of these services. Exceptions to these guidelines may occur in the process of reporting vulnerabilities through public and authoritative channels. Any activity outside the letter or spirit of these guidelines will be reported to the proper authorities and may result in dismissal from the class.

When in doubt, please contact the course professor for advice. Do not undertake any action which could be perceived as technology misuse anywhere and/or under any circumstances unless you have received explicit permission from Professor Jaeger.

Course Updates