CSCI 430 - Introduction to Computer and Network Security - Spring 2020

CSCI 430 - Spring 2020
Introduction to Computer and Network Security
F 1:00 - 4:20 pm in KAP 146

  • Sample final one and two.
  • Here is a good explanation of how data is sent in Tor in forward and reverse direction. We will go over it in the next lecture too.
  • Recording of CCTF1 is posted on Blackboard
  • Grading criteria for midterm:
    • Q1: def of ciper (0.5 pts), mapping (0.5 pts), ciphertext for given plaintext (1 pts)
    • Q2: answer is slide 2 of key management, full points if all steps are explained clearly. If your solution makes sense, full points. Partial points up to 3pts if partially correct.
    • Q3: RSA explanation mentions prime numbers, how to generate public/private key (5 pts), encryption and decryption (1 pt), formulas for encryption/decryption (2 pts), factoring large numbers is exponential in cost (2 pts)
    • Q4: all steps from the slide, full points, and -2.5 points if no details are given for the steps, just the intuition for SSO
    • Q5: digital certs (full points), any other solution gets full points if it makes sense. For digital certificates, must say what is in the cert, or lose 2 pts. part b: full points if low cost is mentioned, part c: full points for challenge/response, otherwise -1 pts if it works but no ch/resp
    • Q6: each file/action/access control scheme combination worth 0.5 pts. If correct answers are shown but without explanation for MAC/DAC lose 2 pts
  • team 1team 2team 3team 4team 5team 6
    Jason H
    Christopher T
    Christopher W
    Jason W
  • Sample midterm one and two.
  • Rajat's office hours changed to Mondays 4-5pm in SAL 125
  • Deadline for HW1 is extended until Mon, 2/10 at midnight
  • Because of MLK day, next week Rajat will keep the TA hour on Tuesday, January 21st, 11am to 12pm at SAL 125.
  • We will be using Piazza for class discussion. Please try this first before emailing the instructor or TA.
  • People/Contact
    • Instructor:
      Prof Jelena Mirkovic (Contact:
      Office hours: F 11 - 12 and by appointment in SAL 311
    • TA:Rajat Tandon (Contact:
      Office hours: M 4 - 5 pm and by appointment in SAL 125
    Course Description
    Computers and networking are crucial to many aspects of our daily lives: entertainment, business, personal communication, healthcare, transportation, utilities, etc. Security of such systems is thus of paramount importance for protecting our assets or even our lives. This course will give students an overview of systems security, its workings, and its role in protecting data and computing resources. Students will receive both theoretical knowledge of threats and defenses and practical skills allowing them to implement some popular threats and defenses in a laboratory setting.

    After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

    • Describe and assess a broad range of security problems and solutions
    • Understand the fundamental mathematics and engineering underlying security systems, as well as basic networking and operating systems
    • Judge the suitability of security systems for various applications
    • Install and configure some basic, open-source security systems
    • Know how to develop new security systems and features

    In addition to lectures students will be engaged through a number of hands-on homeworks and capture-the-flag (CTF) exercises, where they will apply the knowledge from the class in realistic security scenarios, attacking or defending real servers on the DeterLab testbed for security experimentation.

    Prerequisites: CSCI 201 or equivalent (e.g. EE classes on the same topics), or permission of the instructor. Please contact the instructor if you wish to enroll and don't have the prerequisites.

    Stallings and Brown, Computer Security (Required), Any edition
    ISBN: 9780134794105
    Syllabus / Topics Covered
    DateTopics coveredSlidesReading/LinksHomework
    1/17Class logistics
    Intro to security
    Network primer
    Intro to DeterLab
    Class logistics
    Read Student introduction to DeterLab
    Read Core Quickstart guide.
    Read Student guidelines for DeterLab
    1/24 Cryptography Cryptography Homework 1 assigned
    1/31Key management Key Management
    Access control
    Authentication and access control Homework 1 due (extended to Mon 2/10 @midnight)
    Midterm prep
    CTF1 Introduction
    Homework 2 assigned
    CTF1 prep
    CTF2 prep
    DDoS Homework 2 due
    CTF2 Introduction
    CTF2 prep
    Homework 3 assigned
    4/3DNS security
    Routing security
    CTF2 prep
    DNS security
    Routing security
    4/10PrivacyPrivacy Homework 3 due
    4/17CTF2 Homework 4 assigned
    4/24Blockchain Blockchain
    5/1Article presentations
    Final review
    Homework 4 due
    Exams, Homeworks and CTF Exercises
    There will be four homeworks assigned according to the class schedule and due 1-2 weeks afterwards. These homeworks are to be done individually, by each student. They require up to 8 hours to complete and are done remotely on the DeterLab testbed ( There will be two CTF (capture-the-flag) exercises that will be performed in class. Each student will be assigned to a 6-8 member team. Each team will have to simultaneously protect their own data/servers and attack data/servers from one other team. These exercises require 1-2 weeks of preparation (roughly 1-2 h per day, each work day).
    Grades will be calculated based on the following formula:
    Class tasksPercentage of the final grade
    CTF Exercises (2)20%
    Homeworks (4)20%
    Midterm exam20%
    Final exam30%
    Late homework policy: Please start homework early and come to office hours if you need help. There will be no individual extensions of homework deadlines. You can submit one homework late (up to one week) with no penalty. Any other homework you submit late will incur 50% penalty, regardless of how late it is. Final exam: May 6, 2 - 4 pm PST via Blackboard.
    Students with Disabilities
    Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to me as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is open 8:30 a.m - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213) 740-0776.
    Academic Integrity
    USC seeks to maintain an optimal learning environment. General principles of academic honesty include the concept of respect for the intellectual property of others, the expectation that individual work will be submitted unless otherwise allowed by an instructor, and the obligations both to protect one's own academic work from misuse by others as well as to avoid using another's work as one's own. All students are expected to understand and abide by these principles. Scampus, the Student Guidebook, contains the Student Conduct Code in Section 11.00, while the recommended sanctions are located in Appendix A:

    Students will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for further review, should there be any suspicion of academic dishonesty. The Review process can be found at: .

    Emergency Preparedness/Course Continuity in a Crisis
    In case of a declared emergency if travel to campus is not feasible, USC executive leadership will announce an electronic way for instructors to teach students in their residence halls or homes using a combination of Blackboard, teleconferencing, and other technologies.