Topics in Computer Systems (Wireless Network Security)

CS 818

Spring 2008

Instructor: Sanjeev Setia (setia at  gmu dot edu)
Meeting Time: Tuesday 4:30-7:10 pm.
Location: Room 135,  Innovation Hall


Wireless networks have become ubiquitous. The number of wireless devices (phones, PDAs, laptops) already exceeds the number of desktop computers, and this number is likely to increase exponentially in the coming years as wireless sensors and RFID devices become even more commonplace.

Securing wireless networks is an extremely challenging and interesting area of research.   Unprotected wireless networks are vulnerable to several security attacks including eavesdropping and jamming that have no counterpart in wired networks. Moreover, many wireless devices are resource limited, which makes it challenging to implement security protocols and mechanisms.

 The objective of this course is to enable students to understand the main challenges in designing security mechanisms and protocols for thwarting attacks on existing and emerging wireless networks including wireless LANs, sensor networks,  mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), vehicular, mesh, and RFID networks.

The topics that will be discussed are:


This course is primarily designed for Ph.D. students, but is also open to M.S. students with the appropriatate background. The prerequisites for this class are CS 571 (Operating Systems) and CS 555 (Computer Networks). Some background in security and cryptography is desirable but not required.  Students who have not taken these courses but believe they are capable of handling the requirements for the class can register for the class only after getting permission from the instructor. (Please see me or send me email if you fall in this category)


The lectures in class will be based mostly on the book "Security & Cooperation in Wireless Networks" by Buttyan and Hubaux, and articles in the research literature. Students will be required to read assigned papers and submit (electronically) a critical assessment of each paper before its presentation in class, and participate in class discussions on each paper.  The first four or five lectures will be presented by the instructor. Subsequently, each student will be required to give two presentations based on one or more papers from the reading list.

Each student will also have to complete a course project. This project could be a programming project or a research-oriented project depending on the interests and capabilities of the student.

The grade for the class will be based on:


There is no required textbook for this class. However, the lectures in the first third of the semester will be based on "Security & Cooperation in Wireless Networks" by Buttyan and Hubaux. 

Most of the lectures and discussion in class will be based on articles in the research literature. Click here for a preliminary list of papers to be discussed and presented in class.

Class Home Page

All information regarding this class will be posted on the class web site