CS 598MCC, Spring 2013: Network Security

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02/28: Initial Project Presentations Due
03/12: Lecture Slides Due
05/07: Final Poster Due
05/12: Final Project Writeup Due

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CS 598MCC is a graduate course covering advanced topics in network security. Its goals are:

Every aspect of our society, from business and financial transactions, education and research, medicine, to power grid and other societal infrastructures, is tightly coupled with the functioning of the Internet and its constituent networks. Unfortunately, the power of a single individual to cause harm to computer networks is enormous, and accelerating, with network attacks becoming commonplace, network crime comprising a $100 billion industry, and with entire governments funding cyberwarfare. A battle between good and evil is brewing, the likes of which we have never seen, and it is unclear who is going to win in the end.

This class will teach advanced underlying principles of building secure and trustworthy computer networks. This course will provide a deep understanding of how modern networks are designed, their weak points, and both traditional and future approaches to make them resilient. Students will undertake a research project, with the goal of publishing in a top conference. Lecture topics will include:

  1. Physical network security. How to build mechanically resilient networks, including advanced overview of modern copper, wireless, and optical media technologies and laying techniques, and mechanisms to make them resilient to wiretapping, crosstalk, jamming, disasters, wildlife, and nature.
  2. Router mechanisms for security. Algorithms used within router, switch, and intrusion detection system designs to scan, forward, classify, and analyze packets. Forwarding and lookup architectures, matching algorithms, scheduling algorithms, pattern matching algorithms, and how they are used in practice.
  3. Data center and enterprise network security. How to build resilient LANs, including advanced overview of modern LAN technologies (trunking, autoconfiguration, encapsulation, firewalls and ACLs, addressing, broadcast failover, and lookup) and components, as well as attacks and countermeasures.
  4. ISP network security. How core Internet routing works, including relevant routing and redistribution protocols, BGP policy configuration and policy routing, intra- vs inter-domain routing, route reflection, traffic engineering. How to defensively configure your network. Designing robust network topologies: commonly used topologies, and topology optimization algorithms.
  5. The big picture. Environmental and physical plant security, Internet law, governmental regulation and standards bodies, philosophical foundations and ethics.
  6. Hot topics in network security. Security of software-defined networks, cyberwarfare and military network security, security of big data, Internet security architectures, network verification, malware, and more.

Course Staff


Matthew Caesar 3118 SC 847-323-2968 (cell) By appointment
Wenxuan Zhou3118 SCBy appointment