Mobile Security


Yuan Tian

Email: yt2e [at] virginia[dot] edu


Class Meetings:

Mondays & Wednesday, 3:30-4:45 PM EDT

Rice Hall 340

Office Hour:

    • Tuesday 4:45-5:45 pm EDT or by appointment
    • Location: Rice 422

Course Description:

Mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices continue to evolve, leading to increased importance of mobile security - a topic living in the intersection of mobile computing, user privacy, and computer security. This course focuses on aspects of system security that arise in this challenging and ever-evolving space of mobile communication systems, primarily focusing on smartphones and IoT platforms. One of the main goals of the course is to improve knowledge and awareness of security issues faced by mobile application and system developers. The material will cover standards and research challenges in both deployed and future systems. Possible topics of study include (but are not limited to) smartphone security; mobile privacy; and IoT system security. In this course, students will get practical experiences about mobile security by participating in a group project involving significant research, development, and experimentation.

Evaluation & Grading:

Students will be individually evaluated on all course deliverables. Contributions to the final grade will be 30% for individual assignments; 25% for group presentations; 25% for written reports; and 20%for the exam.


Graduate standing

Contact the instructor directly with questions about prerequisites

Reading Material & Textbooks:

Textbooks will not be explicitly used; course material will be based primarily on research papers. Students are expected to read the assigned research papers (reading material may show up on assignments and exam), but reading reviews are not required. For students who are not familiar with relevant background, the following optional textbooks may help.

  • Frank Adelstein, Sandeep K.S. Gupta, Golden G. Richard III, and Loren Schwiebert, Fundamentals of Mobile and Pervasive Computing, 2005.
  • Noureddine Boudriga, Security of Mobile Communications, 2010.
  • Levente Buttyán and Jean-Pierre Hubaux, Security and Cooperation in Wireless Networks, 2008. [Available Online]
  • Abhishek Dubey and Anmol Misra, Android Security: Attacks and Defenses, 2013.
  • Himanshu Dwivedi, Chris Clark, and David Thiel, Mobile Application Security, 2010.
  • Charlie Kaufman, Radia Perlman, and Mike Speciner, Network Security: Private Communication in a Public World, 2002.
  • William Stallings, Wireless Communications & Networks, 2004.
  • Patrick Traynor, Patrick McDaniel, and Thomas La Porta, Security for Telecommunications Networks, 2008.
  • David Tse and Pramod Viswanath, Fundamentals of Wireless Communication, 2005. [Available Online]

Course Deliverables:

Students will participate in a significant group project in addition to individual homework assignments and an exam. All submissions are to be made through Blackboard. Email submissions will not be accepted.


Teams of students will work on a collaborative project for the duration of the semester. Students are responsible for forming their own teams based on common interests and/or complementary skills. Through the semester, teams will give four project presentations and submit two written reports. Details and deadlines are posted here.


An in-class exam will take place on Dec 7, 2017. Please contact the instructor as soon as possible if special arrangements are needed.


Assignments must be done individually. Discussion is encouraged, but each student must submit her/his own work.

  • Assignment #1: Assigned Aug 30, 2017, Due Sept 13, 2017
  • Assignment #2: Assigned Sept 13, 2017, Due Oct 4, 2017
  • Assignment #3: Assigned Oct 4, 2017, Due Oct 18, 2017
  • Assignment #4: Assigned Oct 18, 2017, Due Nov 1, 2017

Daily Schedule and Reading Material:

Students should consult the daily schedule for relevant reading materials and a complete list of the topics covered, important dates, and events. Note that this daily schedule is tentative and can change at any time.

Policies, Ethics, etc.:

Students taking the Mobile Security course are expected to follow various academic policies set forth by the departments, colleges, and university, as well as additional policies specific to this course. Please see this course's policy overview page for more details.