Network Security (ISA 656) Spring 2016

Instructor: Foteini Baldimtsi (foteini(at)
Time: Monday 4:30 pm - 7:10 pm
Room: Innovation Hall 136
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm also by appointment
Office: 5333 Engineering Building

Course Website: (Check this page for updates.) 

Course Description:

An in-depth introduction to the theory and practice of network security. It assumes basic knowledge of cryptography and its applications in modern network protocols. This course will train you how to "think like an adversary"---thinking about how adversary might attack a system by subverting and exploiting assumptions made during system design---and will discuss threat modeling and formal cryptographic approaches to defining and proving security or privacy.

The class studies firewalls architectures and virtual private networks and provides deep coverage of widely used network security protocols such as SSL, TLS, SSH, Kerberos, IPSec, IKE, and LDAP. It covers countermeasures to distributed denial of service attacks, security of routing protocols and the Domain Name System, e-mail security and spam countermeasures, wireless security, multicast security, trust negotiation and decentralized payment systems (Bitcoin like). 


ISA 562 and and ISA 612 or CS 555; or permission of instructor. There will be substantial programming involved in the assignments, and students should be familiar with programming in C, Java or another language. 

Required Materials:

Text Book:

Kaufman, Perlman, and Speciner. Network Security: Private Communication in a Public World, Second Edition, Prentice Hall PTR, 2002, ISBN 0130460192. (Required).

There will also be on-line news articles and research publications that will be required reading before some of the lectures.


Midterm: 25% 

Labs: 5% (There will 2-3 in class labs) 

Assignments: 40% (4 assignments that will require both programming and problem solving) 

Final Project: 25% (You will work on project in network security with a writeup/presentation due at the end) 

Class/Forum Participation: 5%

Assignments received later that day lose 5%, the next day 20%, two days late 40%, after that no credit will be given. 

Honor Code:

Please read and adhere to the University's Academic Honesty Page, GMU Honor Code, CS Department Honor Code

Disability Statement:

If you have a documented learning disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should:

1) Make sure this documentation is on file with the Office of Disability Services.

All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.

2) Talk with me to discuss your accommodation needs.

Other Useful Resources:

Writing Center: A114 Robinson Hall; (703) 993-1200;

University Libraries: .Ask a Librarian.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): (703) 993-2380;

University Policies: The University Catalog,, is the central resource for university policies affecting student, faculty, and staff conduct in university affairs.