ISA 564 Security Laboratory

Spring 2015

Time and Place: Tuesday 4:30~7:10PM at Nguyen Engineering Building 1505

Instructor: Dr. Xinyuan (Frank) Wang

Office: Room 5331, Engineering Building

Office phone: (703) 993-9461

Office hours: Thursday3:00~4:30PM or by appointment

Email: xwangc at gmu dot edu


Teaching Assistant: Damindra Bandara

Office hours: TBD



Course Description

This course provides hands-on experience in "playing" with commodity networked systems and security software in a live laboratory environment, with the purpose of understanding real-world security threats. This course will take both offensive and defensive approaches and expose students to a variety of real-world attacks, including vulnerability exploitation as well as malicious software (e.g., rootkits). Possible mitigation and defense mechanisms such as firewalls and intrusion detection software will also be covered.

Course Outcomes

  • An understanding on real-world security vulnerabilities, exploits and defense.
  • First hand experience in network and system security experiments.
  • A knowledge of real-world security experiments.

Course Prerequisite

ISA 562 and ISA 563 or equivalent.

The students are expected to have good understanding on Unix/BSD/Linux operating system internals (e.g. system call internals, run-time memory organization, assembly language of x86). Proficiency in C programming is essential in order to be successful in the lab assignments.

Textbook and Readings

There is NO textbook for this course. The is based on current research papers and technical reports!

Reference Books

Class Schedule (click to see)

Class schedule is tentative and subject to change. Please check frequently.


There will be NO written exams :)

However, there are 4 or 5 security lab assignments to be done individually, a research assignment with presentation and a open lab project to be done by small teams.

5 or 6 Lab Assignments


Open Lab Project


Class Discussion Participation


The final grade is computed according to the following rules:

·        A+: >= 95%; A: [90%, 95%); A-: [85%, 90%)

·        B+: [80%, 85%);  B: [75%, 80%); B-: [70%, 75%)

·        C+: [66%, 70%); C: [63%, 66%); C-: [60%, 63%)

·        D+: [56%, 60%); D:[53%, 56%); D-: [50%, 53%)

·        F: < 50%.

Academic Integrity

All students are required to follow all university, school and department policies regarding academic integrity. Violator of the Honor Code will result in a grade of F for the course, as well as any penalties imposed by the university and/or the CS department.

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 (SUB I, Rm. 222; 703-993-2474; to determine the accommodations you need; and 2) talk with me to discuss your accommodation needs. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.


This course contains materials provided by Dr. Xuxian Jiang (N. C. State University) .