CS 448/648 Computer Security

Course Syllabus

Fall, 2021

Section 1001: 11:30-12:45 MW; TBE B-172

Prof. Hal Berghel; office: TBE B-378A; phone: 702-895-2441;

hal.berghel \\unlvdomain

hlb \ \acm/ /org

office hours: after class and by appointment

(I am usually in the office every morning unless I have an appointment or meeting

send me an email if you want to schedule a meeting time and I'll put it on my calendar)

Graduate Assistant: Ruth Obidah

ofc hrs: by appointment


General notes:

  1. the Syllabus for this course will be maintained on the instructor's website at www.berghel.net temporarily.  It will be migrated to Web Campus asap.
  2. the assigned readings will come from online resources.  URLs for the readings will be listed in the syllabus under "reading assignments." Note that reading assignments are for the current syllabus entry (i.e., read the assignment for the next class ahead of class)
  3. Tests and presentations will be posted on this online syllabus at least 10 days before the date. Homework may be periodically assigned, the value of which will be clearly indicated on the assignment.
  4. The current UNLV policies that govern instruction are posted on the website of the The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at https://www.unlv.edu/policies/current-policies. In particular, please note the Student Conduct Code and the Academic Misconduct Policy.
  5. Covid Information
  6. UNLV resources:
    1. Writing Center
    2. Tutoring Availability
    3. UNLV Rebel email account
    4. Disability Resource Center
    5. UNLV Coronavirus Update website and dashboard
  7. UNLV information that might be of interest
    1. UNLV campus police reports
    2. UNLV Institutional Metrics
  8. For homework purposes, relevant published online or offline resources are acceptable references. Quotation according to the principles of "fair use" under the U.S. Copyright laws apply. i.e., quoting and identifying a source is acceptable, plagiarizing a source is not. Any student found to have plagiarized will receive an "F" for the assignment in the first occurrence, and will receive an "F" in the course on the second occurrence. If you have any questions about this policy, consult with the instructor.
  9. I change the syllabus frequently (sometimes daily) based on the feedback on, and the pace of, the lectures and current events in computing and network security. As a result, the syllabus will typically lead the lectures by at most 2-3 class periods. An exception to this will be the three class periods prior to an exam. In this case, the class content will be frozen well in advance so that you know what material will be covered on the test.
  10. Grading will be on a standard "university scale," i.e., 90-100=A; 80-89=B; etc. I curve the exams so that the mean is always at least 75%. The contribution of exams, homework, projects, etc. will vary but will be explained in the syllabus at the time of assignment.
  11. There will most likely be a mid-term exam and a final exam. Your grade will be based on these exams with the caveat in note 11., below.
  12. All Exams will be "closed everything": e.g., "closed book," "closed notes," PDAs and computers turned off, cell phones off, etc. Any student caught with an active mobile device during an exam will receive a grade of F for the exam. Any student caught with an active mobile device during an exam for a second time will receive a grade of F for the course.
  13. Attendance may be taken. More than three unexcused absences will result in a 5% penalty on your final grade)

  14. In addition to any exams, homework, and quizzes that may be assigned, students registering for CS648 will be required to complete a semester project the details of which must be agreed upon no later than class time, Monday, on the 4th week of term. You may submit a proposal via email or meet in person to discuss, as you choose. (Assume a 3,500 word report with complete references in whatever standard format you choose (Chicago, APA, MLA, etc. This report is due at the start of the final exam period.)

ACM Code of ethics:

Please familiarize yourself with the Association for Computing Machinery's "Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct" for computing professionals ( http://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics ).

Course Description:

Overview Of Computer Security, Threats, Vulnerabilities And Controls. Security Auditiung, Physical Security, Computer Security Policies And Implementation Plans, And Computer Forensics Including Penetration Testing And Investigation. Management Issues. Legal, Privacy And Ethical Issues. Prerequisites: CS 370. 3 Credits.

Course Materials:

  1. Most reading assignments will either relate directly to the course notes/slides provided on this syllabus, or will be public domain material linked to this syllabus. In addition, you may find the following resources of value.
    1. SANS Resources
      1. SANS IPv4 TCP/IP and tcpdump Pocket Reference Guide
      2. SANS IPv4 TCP/IP and tcpdump Pocket Reference Guide (The version that will be attached to relevant exams)
      3. SANS IPv6 TCP/IP and tcpdump Pocket Reference Guide
      4. SANS Netcat Cheat Sheet
      5. INterfacing with Law Enforcement
      6. SANS Malware FAQs
      7. Lenny Zeltser's Reverse Engineering Malware FAQs
    2. Instructor's Notes
      1. Instructor's notes on Positional Number Systems and Boolean Algegra
      2. Instructor's notes on TCPdump commands and filters
      3. Instructor's study guide to selected reading assignments
    3. Instructor's Online Resources
      1. Better Than Nothing Security Practices
      2. The Packet Pal Primer (an Internet Protocol Resource)
      3. The CGI-Bin Bin (a guide to CGI programming circa 1996
      4. The World Wide Web Test Pattern (find out what the 1990's browser wars were about interactively)
    4. Instructor's TCP/IP Lecture Slides (CS448/648 & CS449/649)
      1. IP
      2. TCP/UDP
      3. ICMP
      4. DNS-ARP
      5. HTTP
      6. BGP
      7. IPsec
  2. Useful Online References:
    1. Wireshark References
      1. Wireshark Capture Filter Expressions: http://wiki.wireshark.org/CaptureFilters
      2. Wireshark Sample Captures: http://wiki.wireshark.org/SampleCaptures#ARP.2FRARP
    2. Forensics Papers
      1. Carrier, Brian and Eugene Spafford, "An Event-Based Digital Forensic Investigation Framework"
      2. Carrier, Brian: "Degining Digital Forensic Examination and Analysis Tools"
      3. Carrier, Brian: "Performing an Autopsy Examination on FFS and EXT2FS Partition Images"
    3. Manuals
      1. WinDump Manual
      2. Notes on TCPdump and Windump
      3. Snort Commands
      4. ASCII Table
      5. Packet Pal Primer
      6. Berghel/Hoelzer: Pernicious Ports , CACM, December, 2005
      7. Wireshark Display Filters
    4. Trusted-Source Network in Digital Security
      1. Schneier on Security - the most accurate security blog on the internet
      2. Krebs on Security - the best general-purpose security blog on the internet
    5. Watchlist of Future Threat Vectors
      1. Election Fraud and Digital Ballot Boxes:
        1. The Verified Voting Foundation
        2. The VVF's Principles for New Voting Systems
      2. The NSA ANT Catalog
      3. The DIY Ransomware software ad from the Isle of Man March 2, 2017
      4. CIA Tradecraft DOs and DONT's for Malware Development (text; src: Wikileaks; cf. esp. "(U) Networking" ). See also Helpful(?) coding tips from the CIA's school of hacks , Ars Technica, March 8, 2017
      5. The NSA's Media Engagement (aka: Deception) Plan
      6. Micah Lee, It's Impossible to Prove your Laptop hasn't been Hacked..... ", The Interecept, April 28, 2018.
      7. Micah Lee, Edward Snowden's New App uses your smartphone to physically guard your laptop , The Intercept, December 27, 2017.
    6. Interesting Digital Archives
      1. IEEE Computer Society's Computing Conversations by Chuck Severance
      2. AT&Ts Tech Channel
      3. The IEEE Computer Society 2022 Report (predictions)
    7. Dan Kaminsky's Black Ops Series
      1. Dan Kaminsky: Black Ops of TCP IP 2008 (Defcon 16, 2008)
      2. Dan Kaminsky: Black Ops of TCP IP 2011 (Defcon 19, 2011)
      3. Dan Kaminsky: Black Ops of TCP IP 2013 (Defcon 20, 2012)
      4. Dan Kaminsky: Black Ops of PKI 2013 (26C3 January 3, 2012)
    8. Relevant Videos
      1. Whitfield Diffie: Information Security - Before and After Public-Key Cryptography; Computer Museum
      2. Warriors of the Net (video)
      3. Vint Cerf on the History of Packets(video)
      4. Vint Cerf on TCP/IP Evolution(video) - # 11
      5. The Cloud Conspiracy 2008-2014 by Calpar Bowden[31c3, Dec. 2014]
      6. NSA: Tell No One by James Bamford [31c3, Dec. 2014]
    9. Innervation
      1. Dr. Chuck's iPad Steering Wheel Mount
      2. the ill-fated Clipper Chip
    10. Miscellaneous
      1. PRPL's: Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Computing , January, 2016
      2. Dylan Curran, Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you , The Guardian, March 30, 2018
      3. Bruce Schneier: The Security Mirage (Online TED presentation)

Course Outcomes:


note 1: Attendance may be taken. More than three unexcused absences may result in a 5% penalty on your final grade)

note 2: The UNLV IEEE Xplore digital library institional license (ieeexplore.ieee.org from any UNLV IP address) and UNLV ACM digital library institutional subscription (dl.acm.org from any UNLV IP address) may be used to access IEEE and ACM assigned readings. In both cases use the title as the search term. Whenever possible, I will provide alternative convenient links consistent with copyright, but I cannot guarantee the persistence of the links..

Week of August 23 - Topic: Reality Checks Regarding Digital Security - Part I

Week of August 30-- Topic: Reality Checks Regarding Digital Security - Part II

Week of September 6-- Topic: The IPv4 Protocol

Week of September 13-- Topic: The TCP and UDP Protocols

Week of September 20-- Topic: The ICMP Protocol (Sept. 21) and Packet Analysis (Sept. 23)

Week of September 27 -- Topic: The DNA and ARP Protocols and Wireshark Demonstration

Week of October 4-- DOS/DDOS

October 12 -- EXAM I - closed notes, closed book, all electronic devices must be turned off. Failure to comply may result in exam grade of F.

October 14 and Week of October 18-- Hacking Innovations