Network Security is a mixed undergraduate/graduate course that explores the practical elements of securing networked systems and services. The course goals are the following:

  • Provide a solid understanding of the design and analysis of network security architectures, protocols, and services
  • Provide an in-depth examination of contemporary network security standards and their limitations
  • Provide hands-on experience in attacking and defending network services

Topics covered by this course include:

  • Security foundations
  • Attacks against the network stack
  • Wireless security
  • Naming and routing
  • Distributed systems and consensus
  • Privacy and anonymity
  • Web security
  • Malware and malware analysis


  • Class meets Thursdays 6–9 PM in 220 Shillman
  • TA hours are held Tuesdays 4-5 PM in 601 ISEC
  • Office hours are by appointment


Grades will be assigned based on the completion of problem sets, quizzes, and a midterm and final exam. Points will also be awarded for class participation.

Problem Sets
Midterm Exam
Final Exam

Quizzes and exams are performed in class, and are closed-book and closed-notes.


This course requires a solid background in programming, systems, and networking. Aside from the official course prerequisites, familiarity with the following systems, languages, and tools is strongly suggested.

  • UNIX/Linux
  • TCP/IP
  • C/C++
  • Bash scripting
  • Python, Ruby, etc.
  • JavaScript
  • SSH
  • Git

If you are uncertain of your abilities in this respect and cannot come up to speed quickly, you will have significant difficulty with this course.


Cheating. Work submitted for grading must represent your own effort. Group work is not allowed unless a problem statement specifically states otherwise. There will be zero tolerance for cheating; all cheating cases will be brought to OSCCR. Actions that constitute cheating are defined in the University Academic Integrity Policy, and students that participate in this course must acknowledge that they have read and understood this document.

Grading. Late assignments will be accepted, with the caveat that scores will be penalized by a full letter grade for each day that an assignment is late. Grades may be subject to a curve.

Reference Material. There is no official textbook for this course. Instead, we will rely on lectures and suggested readings. If you need to brush up on background material, refer to relevant courses and their textbook recommendations.

Online Discussion. Online discussion and questions will be handled through Piazza, not via email. A best effort attempt will be made to respond to posts within 24 hours on weekdays during normal working hours. To ensure a timely response, do not wait to ask questions until the night before a submission deadline.

Ethics. This course covers sensitive material that includes information on how to exploit vulnerable software. Attack-oriented work must be restricted to the computing resources provided. Alternatively, students can perform this work using personal resources so long as other computing resources are not affected.

In particular, attacks performed against University resources or the open Internet are expressly prohibited. Students should also be familiar with the University Appropriate Use policy.


Note: This schedule is preliminary and subject to change.
Date Module Topics and Readings
Thu Jan 11 Foundations Introduction, Foundations
Thu Jan 18 The Network Stack IP and TCP Security
Thu Jan 25 Core Internet Services User and Network Authentication
Thu Feb 01 Core Internet Services Transport Layer Security; Quiz
Thu Feb 08 Core Internet Services Naming and Routing
Thu Feb 15 Core Internet Services Distributed Systems and Consensus
Thu Feb 22 Privacy and Anonymity Onion Routing and Censorship
Thu Mar 01 Midterm Exam
Thu Mar 08 Spring Break
Thu Mar 15 Web Security TLS, XSS, CSRF, SQL Injection
Thu Mar 22 Web Security CSP, CORS, Browser Separation
Thu Mar 29 Malware Memory Safety
Thu Apr 05 Malware Vulnerability Analysis
Thu Apr 12 Malware Malware Analysis; Quiz
Thu Apr 19 Final Exam

Problem Sets

Topic Submission Deadline
Preparation Wed Jan 24 18:00 EST 2018
Securing a Distributed Hash Table Mon Feb 05 18:00 EST 2018
Node Communications Fri Mar 02 18:00 EST 2018
Vulnerability Assessment Fri Apr 20 18:00 EDT 2018