Instructor: Dong (Kevin) Jin

Lectures: Tuesday, Thursday 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm, Stuart Building 107

Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm, or by appointment

Office: 226E Stuart Building

Email: dong.jin@iit.edu

TA: Neil Getty (Office: SB 019B, Email: ngetty@hawk.iit.edu, Office Hour: 2:00-3:15 Tuesday and Thursdays)

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/cs558spring2017/

Discussion Forum (Piazza): piazza.com/iit/spring2017/cs558/home
Rather than emailing questions to the instructors, students are encouraged to post your questions on Piazza for getting help fast and efficiently from the instructor and classmates.

Course Description

This course will teach various modern topics in network and computer security. It will provide a thorough grounding in cyber-security for students who are interested in conducting research on security and networking, and for students who are more broadly interested in real-world security issues and techniques. Students will undertake a semester-long research project, with the goal of technical publications (sample projects). Lecture topics will include, but not limited to (refer to schedule for more details):

  • Unwanted traffic, such as denial of service (DoS), spam
  • Malware, such as botnet, worm, virus
  • Network configuration and defense, such as firewall, access control, intrusion detection systems
  • Cyber physical system security, such as critical infrastructure protection (e.g., smart grid)
  • Hot topics, such as software-defined networking (SDN), network verification, data center and enterprise network security, and more

The project in this course is an open-ended research project. The project requires a proposal, a checkpoint status report, a final presentation, and a final report. An essential component of the course is to read and understand the core technologies and techniques used in computer security. You will be required to submit paper summaries before class and to participate in classroom discussion.


CS450 (Operating Systems) or CS455 (Data Communication) or CS458 (Information Security), or please contact the instructor if you are interested in this course and have a reasonably good CS background in security or networking/systems. It is assumed that the students are familiar with some programming language, such as C, C++, Java, or Python.

Learning Objective

  • Explore a range of current problems and tensions in modern network and computer security
  • Understand basic issues, concepts, threats, principles, and mechanisms in cyber-security
  • To understand how to engage in networking and security research, and to investigate novel ideas in network security through a semester-long research project


There is NO required textbook. Most readings will be from research papers in security conferences and journals. As background, we suggest several texts:

  • Computer Security: Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition, (2011), by William Stallings and Lawrie Brown 


    Useful resources for students from the official website [link]

  • Security in Computing, 4th Edition (2007), by Charles P. Pfleeger and Shari Lawrence Pfleeger.
  • Network Security—Private Communication in a Public World, 2nd Edition (2002), by Charlie Kaufman, Radia Perlman, and Mike Speciner.
  • Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems by Ross Anderson
  • Information Security Risk Analysis by Thomas Peltier
  • Information Security: Principles and Practice, Second edition, by Mark Stamp


Your final grade for the course will be based on the following weights:

For regular class session: 

  • Piazza Forum Posting 30%: comments + questions before class, and answers after class
  • Paper presentation 15%
  • Projects 40% (proposal 5%, mid-term presentation 5%, mid-term report 5%, final presentation 10%, final report 15%)
  • Final Exam 15%
For Internet and India session:
  • Piazza Forum Posting 35%: comments + questions before class, and answers after class
  • Projects 45% (proposal 5%, mid-term presentation 5%, mid-term report 5%, final presentation 10%, final report 20%)
  • Final Exam 20%

All late submissions (but still within one day after the deadline) will automatically lose half points. Submissions one day after the deadline will NOT be accepted (unless you get permission from the instructor).

There will be bonus points for (1) EXCELLENT research projects, (2) good in-class participation (attendance and discussion), and (3) Piazza Forum postings.

 Percent Grade (tentative)
 100 - 85 A    
 84 - 70 B
 69 - 50 C
 < 50 E

Paper Reading, Forum Posting, and In-class Discussion

A major part of this course will be reading, analyzing, and discussing papers. We will cover one paper per lecture typically. Required readings for each class are posted on the class website. For each paper, your assignment is to read the paper carefully before the lecture and to post on the course forum, including
  • Before Class
    • Write a short paragraph summarizing the content of the paper
    • Write at least two comments and at least two questions about this paper
    • Post on the Piazza forum with the title "Summary - paper name" and the corresponding piazza label
      (e.g., "Summary - Adaptive selective verification" with the label "dos_summary")
  • After Class
    • Write at least one answer to one of the questions we discussed in class. The idea is for you to give your opinion after having read the paper and listened to the discussion
    • For the Internet and India sessions, three answers are needed (equivalent to in-class discussion)
    • Post on the Piazza forum with the title "Answer - paper name" and the corresponding piazza label 
      (e.g., "Answer - Adaptive selective verification" with the label "dos_answer")

The postings can take many forms, for example, you could post any of the following:

  • What you appreciated about the paper
  • Where you felt the paper fell short
  • Future work that the paper inspired you to think of
  • Questions about the meaning of a section of the paper
  • Comparisons between the paper and another paper or approach for the same problem
  • Relationship between the problem being attacked in this paper and another problem
  • How the paper relates to another paper or approach
  • Speculation about how the author's idea would apply in a new situation
  • Something you wished the author had addressed
  • Assumptions in the paper that you disagree with and how you think different assumptions would affect the outcome
  • Answering another student's question or following up on another student's comment
Your postings need not be long; the ideal is a few thought-provoking sentences. You should submit your posting (overview, comments and questions) to the forum no later than 11:59 pm on the day before we discuss the paper (e.g., no later than Monday 11:59 pm for the Tuesday's lecture, and Wednesday 11:59 pm for the Thursday's lecture). For regular session students, you should also post your answers before the next lecture (i.e., if we discuss papers on Tuesday, post the answers before the Thursday's class); For Internet/Indian session students, you should post your answers in max(4 days after the lecture, before the next lecture).

Paper Presentation

For a subset of the papers (ideally one) that you write summaries for, you will also present the paper to the class and lead the discussion. The presentation should include background material, related work, problem statement, research approach, results, lessons learned, conclusion, and discuss questions. For discussion topics, use the piazza forum questions as a starting point for thinking about the type of things that would be useful for discussion.

Presentations should include some visual aide (Power point or something similar). As the discussion leader, you should also prepare by reading some of the papers related to the discussion paper, to provide context.

Note: You must meet with the instructor one week before your presentation with a rough presentation outline and draft slides (e.g., if your paper presentation is on Tuesday, meet the instructor after the previous Tuesday's class), and turn in your slides to the instructor 
no later than 11:59 pm on the day before your presentation

Please also note that you must still submit a summary as usual before your own presentation.
Exceptional Circumstances
I will try to accommodate you in those cases that are beyond your control, such as a documented medical emergency or a personal emergency (e.g., a death in the family). I will try to assign you a new due date. Please note that, based on circumstances, the teacher may decide to assign you an incomplete grade, "I", or otherwise ask you to drop the class.

Incomplete (I) Grades

You can get an incomplete in this class, even if you're not dealing with a personal emergency. Here are the conditions:

It's not automatic; you have to request an incomplete from your instructor before final grades are posted.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. IIT has a strict academic honesty policy; here are the top points:
  • The misrepresentation of any work submitted for credit as the product of a student’s sole independent effort, such as using the ideas of others without attribution and other forms of plagiarism.
  • The use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests or examinations.
  • The acquisition, without permission, of tests, answer sheets, problem solutions or other academic material when such material has been withheld from distribution by the instructor.
  • Deliberate harmful obstruction of the studies, research or academic work of any member of the IIT community.
  • Making a material misrepresentation in any submission to or through any office of the university to a potential employer, professional society, meeting or organization.
  • The intentional assistance of others in the violation of the standards of academic honesty.
You can read the entire policy at http://www.iit.edu/student_affairs/handbook/information_and_regulations/code_of_academic_honesty.shtml. You should read it until you fully understand it. A good way to test whether you understand it is to try to explain it to somebody else.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement
Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources. The Center for Disability Resources (CDR) is located at 3424 S. State St., room 1C3-2 (on the first floor), telephone: 312.567.5744 or disabilities@iit.edu