• When: Fall 2024 September 3 - December 10 (final exam date will be announced at a later date).
  • Where: Class meets once a week either (either fully remote with online synchronous meetings via Zoom or in-person) for discussion and questions/answers. These sessions are with Professor Kermani not a TA. Materials including posted videos are available via Blackboard.  

Discussion session is planned for Tuesday afternoons at 5:30 P.M.-6:45 P.M. in Fall 2024. 
Attendance in discussion sessions is highly recommended.

UWW Section 1 (COMPSCI grad students; as well as any other student at the grad level with instructor permission (including non-matriculated/non-CS).

UNIV Section 1 (UGrads that meet prerequisites: COMPSCI 453 Computer Networking or ECE 374 Computer Networks & Internet.  All prerequisites require "C" grade or better.  A student may also be enrolled with instructors permission.  

UNIV Section 2 COMPSCI and ECE graduate students.

Non-matriculated students can enroll in the UWW section; with permission.  MS degree students may do so as well (for example, if they are off campus for the semester).

Instructor: Dr. Parviz Kermani
Address: LGRC A263
Phone: 914-299-9719
Office hours: In person/Zoom-Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 am, US ET, or by appointment

This class can be applied towards the Information Security Certificate or as an outside elective for the CS MS degree.

Undergraduate students:  COMPSCI 453 Computer Networking or ECE 374 Computer Networks & Internet.  All prerequsities require "C" grade or better.  A student may also be enrolled with instructors permission.  

Graduate Students: No prerequsities for COMPSCI and ECE graduate students; however, any eduction in security requires good knowledge of networking. As such,  knowledge of COMPSCI 453, Computer  Networking or ECE 374 is essential to completely benefit from this course. Other non-degree students need permission of instructor.

Textbooks (Required)
The two textbooks which I will be following in this course cover the material from two different points of view. The book by Wending Du, as the title suggests, covers the topic in a very practical and hands-on approach. The second book by William Stallings is more descriptive and covers the topics in more traditional way. I have used parts of these two books and well as lecture notes by other leaders of the field in this course.

  • "Computer & Internet Security- A Hands-on Approach, Second Edition", Wenliang Du, independently published, ISBN: 978-1-7330039-3-3, 2019.
    Note: This book covers hands-on topics of the course. We will cover many sections of this book.
  • "Network Security Essentials, Sixth Edition," William Stallings, Pearson, 2017.
    Note: We will use this book for a more in-depth coverage of theoretical aspect of the course. It is condensation of a more theoretical book by the same author and covers the fundamental mechanism used in security practice.

Textbooks (Optional):

  • Jim Kurose and Keith Ross: Computer Networking: A top-down approach, 8th Edition, Pearson 2020. For the purpose of this course, the Sixth edition of the book will be sufficient. If you plan to purchase this book, I highly recommend the 7th edition (or better, the 8th edition which is coming). This is an excellent (the best!) book on networking. I use it to cover the networking part of this course. I have used a chapter of this book on security in my lecture notes.  
  • Matt Bishop: Introduction to Computer Security, Addison Wesley, 2005 This is a classic book and I have used part of it in my lecture notes.
  • Matt Bishop: Computer Security [Art and Science], Pearson, 2019 A new edition of a classic book.

Course Objectives

  • To learn and understand the fundamentals of computer security.
  • To learn and understand the fundamentals of symmetric and public/private encryption algorithms.
  • To learn and understand the fundamentals of message digest and hash function.
  • To learn and understand the fundamental of message authentication and digital signature
  • To learn and understand the fundamental of network security application
    • Key distribution and user authentication.
    • IP and Transport-level security (TLS).
    • Wireless network security
  • To learn about system security
    • Malicious Software
    • Intruders
    • Firewalls
  • To learn and gain hands-on experience with the core security algorithms.
  • To learn how to apply these skills as a professional in information security.

This course introduces the principles and practice of computer and network security with a focus on both fundamental principles and practical applications through hands-on approach. Many of the principles are taught through examples. The key topics of this course are a brief introduction to computer networking; applied cryptography; protecting users, data, and services; network security, and common threats and defense strategies. Students will complete several practical lab assignments as well as auto-graded quizzes/assignments.

Planned Weekly Schedule

The following is a tentative agenda for what is covered in this course:

  • Fundamentals (1 weeks): Week 1 Basic definitions
    • When is an asset secure?
    • Confidentiality, integrity, authentication, availability, etc.
    • Ethics
    • Policy basics
    • Threat and risk basics
    • Recovery from attacks
  • Applied Cryptography (2 week): Weeks 2,3
    • Recovery from attack
    • Cryptographic hash functions
    • Public/private key cryptography
    • Information Hiding: Watermarking and Steganography
    • Hash Functions & Message Authentication Codes & Applications
  • Applications: Protecting users, data, and services (1 Week): Week 4
    • Password & User protection
    • File/Software integrity
    • Message authentication
    • Digital Signature
    • X.509 Digital Certificate
    • End-Point Authentication
    • Establishing Session Key
    • Secure e-mail
    • Passwords and user authentication
    • Brief introduction to Kerberos
    • Encrypted file systems
  • Fundamentals of Computer Networking (2 weeks): Weeks 5-6
    • Networks and Internet
    • Application Layer
    • Transport Layer
    • Network Layer
    • Link Layer
    • Local Area and Wireless Networks
  • Network security (1 Week): Week 7
    • Port scanning
    • Transport-Layer Security; SSL/TLS
    • Wi-Fi security
  • Malware: Viruses and Rootkits (1 Week): Week 8
    • Malware: Viruses and Rootkits, Worms and Botnets
    • Phishing
  • Threats and Mitigation (1 Weeks): Week 9
    • Firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems
    • Online Tracking
    • VPNs
    • iptables
  • Anonymous Communications (1 Week): Week 10
    • Network Attacks: BGP, DNS, DoS
    • Tor and related systems
  • Software Security (1 Week): Week 11
  • Wrap up & Review (1 Week): Week 12
  • Wrap up - Week 13


There will be one (or multiple) assignment per week; a total of 10+ assignments. The following distribution will be used for the final grading in this course.


Approximate Amount


Assignments(evenly distributed)



Programming Project

1 5%

Final (exam or project)



Discussion participation

Will certainly influence your 
grade in the course



Lectures will be recorded. This class's lectures will be recorded. When physically present, every effort is made to not capture students' likenesses, as the system is designed to capture the instructor and the front of the classroom, however, students' audio participation might be recorded. These recordings will be made accessible to students enrolled this semester and in subsequent offerings of the class.


We follow all university adopted policies. Please DO read the UMass Academic Honest Policy.

Inclusive Discussion

In this course, each voice in the classroom has something of value to contribute. Please take care to respect the different experiences, beliefs and values expressed by students and staff involved in this course. I support the commitment of the UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences to diversity, and welcome individuals of all ages, backgrounds, citizenships, disability, sex, education, ethnicities, family statuses, genders, gender identities, geographical locations, languages, military experience, political views, races, religions, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, and work experiences.


As a condition of continued enrollment in this course, you agree to submit all assignments to the Turnitin and/or My Drop Box services for textual comparison or originality review for the detection of possible plagiarism. All submitted assignments will be included in the UMass Amherst dedicated databases of assignments at Turnitin and/or My Drop Box. These databases of assignments will be used solely for the purpose of detecting possible plagiarism during the grading process and during this term and in the future. Students who do not submit their papers electronically to the selected service will be required to submit copies of the cover page and first cited page of each source listed in the bibliography with the final paper to receive a grade on the assignment.

Accommodation Statement

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.

Academic Honesty Statement

Since the integrity of the academic enterprise of any institution of higher education requires honesty in scholarship and research, academic honesty is required of all students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Instructors should take reasonable steps to address academic misconduct. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the appropriate course instructor as soon as possible. Instances of academic dishonesty not related to a specific course should be brought to the attention of the appropriate department Head or Chair. Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent ( ).







Tuesday, September 6, 2022 to Monday, December 12, 2022
Tuesday, September 5, 2023 to Friday, December 8, 2023
Tuesday, September 3, 2024 to Tuesday, December 10, 2024
Class meets on: 
Remote participation
5:30 – 6:45 P.M.
Parviz Kermani
September, 2024