ISA 562: Information Security Theory and Practice 

Semester: Fall 2016

Catalog Description

A technical introduction to the theory and practice of information security, which serves as the first security course for the MS-ISA degree, is required as a prerequisite for all subsequent ISA courses (at the 600 and 700 levels) and subsumes most topics covered by the CISSP examination. Also serves as an entry-level course available to non-ISA students, including MS-CS, MS-INFS, and MS-SWE students.

Registration Dates: Apr 08, 2016 to Sep 02, 2016
Drop without Tuition Penalty Dates: 09/06/2016
Drop with Tuition Penalty (and final drop deadline) Dates: 09/30/2016.
Prerequisite(s): (INFS 501, 515, 519, and SWE 510), or (CS530+CS531) or permission of instructor. 

Note: Having passed CISSP, work experience,  a busy schedule or otherwise loosing a scholarship is NOT an alternative way to satisfy prerequisites or a reason for a waiver.

Course Textbook: Network Security (Private Communication in a PUBLIC World) by C. Kaufman, R. Perlman and M Speciner

Class Administration

Text Book:

Network Security (Private Communication in a PUBLIC World) by C. Kaufman, R. Perlman and M Speciner

Other martial will be specified on Blackboard.

Class Time:

Wednesday 4.30-7.20 pm

Class Room:

Innovation Hall 222


Duminda Wijesekera (dwijesek AT gmu DOT edu), 703-993-5030

Office Hours:

Research Hall 436, W 7.30-8.30 or by appointment


Maofei Chen, mchen18 (at) mason live (dot) gum (dot) edu

TA Office Hours:

 M 3.30-5.00 and W 2.50-4.20, in Engineering 4456


Four Home works=40%, In Class Midterm=20%, In Class Final (non cumulative, open book, closed Internet and neighbors)=20%, Project=20% Due date will be announced in class.

Tentative Schedule



Book Chapter

HW / Exam

Aug 31

Introduction and Cryptography

Ch 1 and 2

 HW 1 out

Sept 07

Secret Key Cryptography

Ch 3

Sept 14

Modes of Operation

Ch 4

 HW 1 in HW 2 out

Sept 21

Number Theory

Ch 7

Sept 28

Hashes and Message Digests

Ch 5


Oct 05

Cryptography and Secret Keys

Ch 6

HW 2 in HW 3 out

Oct 12

Catch up


Oct 19


Oct 26

Authentication + Passwords

Chs 9 and 10

HW 3 in and HW 4 out

Nov 02

Handshake Pitfalls

Ch 11

Project out

Nov 09

Strong Password Protocls

Ch 12

Nov 16


Ch 13 and 14

 Hw 4 in

Nov 23


Ch 15

Nov 30


 Ch 17, 18

Dec 07


Ch 19

Project in


The timetable given above may change during the semester. Powerpoint’s will be provided in the Blackboard system.


All homework solutions must be done individually. Written submissions should be handed lover to the TA, preferably using the Blackboard, ad when not possible using email.

Note on Exams:

In Class, closed book, closed neighbor, no electronic devices during exams.

Final exam on Wednesday December 14.

Partial Credit:

Partial credit is given for incomplete proofs or counterexamples ONLY IF they can be completed as begun.

Honor Code:

GMU honor code applies to all submitted work for this course.