ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Accredited by ABET
Undergraduate Programs

ECE 4560 Computer and Network Security Fundamentals


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 4560 Computer and Network Security Fundamentals (3C)

This course introduces fundamental security principles and real-world applications of Internet and computer security. Topics covered in the course include legal and privacy issues, risk analysis, attack and intrusion detection concepts, system log analysis, intrusion detection and packet filtering techniques, computer security models, computer forensics, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

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. To design, deploy, and manage secure systems/networks, one needs the ability to understand core security concepts, analyze the security vulnerabilities of the system/network, and design necessary countermeasures to these threats. This course provides requisite knowledge of fundamental security concepts and their applications that are needed by students who plan to take more advanced graduate courses in network/computer security. Moreover, it provides pre-requisite knowledge to graduate students that have not been exposed to similar topics while attending other institutions as undergraduate students. Note that the computer industry is constantly in need of computer engineering graduates that have an understanding of computer/network security fundamentals.

Design Technical Elective for CPE; Technical Elective for EE. Typically offered: Spring. Program Area: Computers.

Prerequisites: C- or better in 4564 or CS 4254.

Why are these prerequisites or corequisites required?

The prerequisite is ECE 4564. Students should have knowledge of the principles and concepts of computer systems and networks. Students should have a basic understanding of TCP/IP design concepts. They are also expected to have a good working knowledge of Windows, Mac OSX or Unix/Linux. The course mentioned above provides students with this knowledge.

Department Syllabus Information:

Major Measurable Learning Objectives:
  • Discuss the legal, privacy and ethical aspects of computer security;
  • Analyze the techniques used by hackers to penetrate systems and networks;
  • Analyze systems and protocols for security vulnerabilities;
  • Identify common network and system-based attacks; and
  • Explain core security issues related to wired/wireless networks such as key management, message authentication, and message encryption.

Course Topics
Topic Percentage
Legal and ethical aspects of computer security 15%
Risk analysis 10%
Security models 10%
User authentication 15%
Introduction to network security standards 15%
Cryptography and its role in computer security 10%
Penetration study methodologies 10%
Intrusion detection/defense methodology 15%

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