ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering

ECE 5560 Network and Computer Security


Spring 2015 textbook list

The Spring 2015 ECE textbook list is available online for students.

Current Prerequisites & Course Offering

For current prerequisites for a particular course, and to view course offerings for a particular semester, see the Virginia Tech Course Timetables.

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ECE 5560 Network and Computer Security (3C)

Introduces both fundamental security principles as well as real-world applications of network and computer security. Covers a wide range of topics including authorization and access control, basic cryptography, authentication systems, e-commerce security, sensor network security, and legal and ethical issues.

What is the reason for this course?

Past experiences have shown us that security mechanisms of a given system or network must be properly designed from the very beginning, and not added on as an afterthought. If the required security mechanisms are not carefully integrated into the target system/network a priori to deployment, potential security breaches can inflict enormous damage. This issue is becoming more critical than ever as we see an increase in the exchange of sensitive information (e.g., medical records, financial data, etc.) over insecure network links. The design, deployment, and management of secure systems or networks require the ability to understand core security concepts, analyze the security vulnerabilities of a target system, and design necessary cryptosystems for the target system. This course provides requisite knowledge of fundamental security concepts and their applications that are needed by students who are conducting research in security-related topics.

Typically offered: Fall. Program Area: Computers.

Prerequisites: 4564 or 5565.

Why are these prerequisites or corequisites required?

The prerequisite is ECE 4564 or CS 4254 or ECE/CS 5565. Graduate standing is required. Students should have knowledge of the principles and concepts of computer systems and networks. Students should also have basic background knowledge in random variables and stochastic processes. The three courses cited above should provide students with sufficient prerequisite knowledge.

Department Syllabus Information:

Major Measurable Learning Objectives:
  • Describe information security objectives of privacy (confidentiality), data integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation;
  • Apply number theory and abstract algebra to cryptosystems;
  • Explain the general design principles of RSA and AES cryptosystems;
  • Discuss various types of security mechanisms employed in IPSec and TLS;
  • Explain the general architecture and functionality of the Kerberos authentication protocol and the X.509 authentication service;
  • Identify and categorize various denial-of-service (DoS) attacks;
  • Identify system and protocol vulnerabilities that are exploited by adversaries to carry out various types of DoS attacks; and
  • Discuss legal and ethical issues in network/computer security.

Course Topics
Topic Percentage
Introduction to basic concepts 5%
Authorization and access control 10%
Cryptography and its applications 20%
Authentication systems 20%
Security issues in e-commerce 15%
Sensor network security 15%
Other security topics: Intrusion detection, Denial of service attacks 10%
Legal and ethical issues 5%

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