ISA 562: Information Security Theory and Practice 

Semester: Spring 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-IS, and MS-SWE students.

Registration Dates: Apr 08, 2014 to Sep 02, 2016
Drop without Tuition Penalty Dates: 01/26/2016
Drop with Tuition Penalty (and final drop deadline) Dates: 02/19/2016.
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 134


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

Office Hours:

Research Hall 436, W 2.00-3.00 7.30-8.30 or by appointment


David Gonzales (dgonza10 AT gmu DOT edu)

TA Office Hours:

Wednesday 4.00-5.00 pm, in Engineering 5321


Five Home works=40%, In Class Midterm=30%, In Class Final (non cumulative, open book, closed Internet and nighbours)=30%

Tentative Schedule



Book Chapter

HW / Exam

Jan 20

Introduction, Access Control

Ch 1, 7 from alternative material on Blackboard

 HW 1 out

Jan 27

Access Control Mechanisms, Foundations

Ch 7 from alternative material on Blackboard


Mandatory Access Control

Ch 8 from alternative material on Blackboard

 HW 1 in HW 2 out

Feb 10

Separation of Duty, Delegation and Access Control Constraints

Ch 8 from alternative material on Blackboard

Feb 17

Probability & Number Theory

Provided on Blackboard + Ch 7 textbook

 HW 2 in HW 3 out

Feb 24

Cryptography and Secret keys

Ch 2 & 3 textbook

March 02

Mid Term

 Mid Term Exam

March 09



March 16

Hashes and Message Digests

Ch 4

HW 3 in and HW 4 out

March 23

Cryptographic Analysis of Block Cyphers and Hash Algorithms: L-R Games

Reference on Blackboard

March 30

Public key Algorithms

Ch 6 tectbook

HW 4 in HW 5 out

April 06

Handshakes and Strong Password Protocls

Ch 11 and 12, textbook


April 13


Ch 13 and 14, textbook

HW 5 in

April 20


 Ch 17, 18 textbook

April 27


Ch 19 textbook


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, either through the Blackboard, email or mailbox.

Note on Exams:

In Class, closed book, closed neighbor, no electronics during exams.

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.