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ECE 5698: Introduction to Computer Security



Engin Kirda

For correspondence, send a mail to ek@ccs.neu.edu

Office Hours: Mondays, 3-4pm


  1. 11.25.2014 Challenge 6 is online.
  2. 11.07.2014 Challenge 5 is online.
  3. 23.10.2014 Challenge 4 is online.
  4. 10.10.2014 Challenge 3 is online.
  5. 09.30.2014 Challenge 2 is online.
  6. 09.19.2014 Challenge 1 is online.
  7. 09.09.2014 Course website online.


Today, computer security problems have started to impact the practical aspects of our lives. Even though there is a considerable corpus of knowledge about tools and techniques to protect systems, information about what the actual vulnerabilities are and how they are exploited is not generally available. Also, there are many misconceptions when it comes to protecting systems.

This course deals with common programming, configuration, and design mistakes and ways to detect and avoid them. Examples are used to highlight general error classes, such as stack and heap overflows. Possible protection and detection techniques are examined. The course includes a number of practical lab assignments where participants are required to apply their knowledge as well as a discussion of the current research in the field. Students will learn how the security of systems can be violated, and how such attacks can be detected and prevented. The course aims to make the students "security aware", and gain a basic understanding about security issues.

Some Planned Topics for Lectures

  • Code security
  • Web security
  • Malware
  • Underground economy
  • Social network security and fraud
  • Reverse engineering and binary analysis
  • Intrusion detection
  • Testing
  • Operational security


Programming experience (this course is not for you if you are a complete beginner)
Knowledge of C/C++ useful
Basic web programming knowledge is useful
Knowledge of general computer science concepts

Dates and Times

Tuesdays, 1:30-3pm, FS 202

Fridays, 1:30-3pm, FS 202

Slides and Schedule

Week of 8-12 December Final exam
12.02.2014 Class 23 download slides)
11.25.2014 Class 22 download slides)
11.21.2014 Class 21 download slides) // Quiz 3
11.18.2014 Class 20 download slides)
11.14.2014 Class 19 download slides)
11.11.2014 No class / Veteran's Day
11.07.2014 Class 18 (download slides)
11.04.2014 Class 17 (download slides)
10.31.2014 Class 16 (download slides) // Quiz 2
10.28.2014 Class 15 (download slides)
10.24.2014 Class 14 (Lab Time)
10.21.2014 Class 13 (download slides)
10.17.2014 Midterm exam
10.14.2014 Class 12 (download slides)
10.10.2014 Class 11 (download slides)
10.07.2014 Class 10 (download slides)
10.03.2014 Class 9 (download slides)
09.30.2014 Class 8 / Quiz 1 (download slides)
09.26.2014 Class 7 (download slides)
09.23.2014 Class 6 (download slides)
09.19.2014 Class 5 (download slides)
09.16.2014 Class 4 (download slides)
09.12.2014 Class 3 (download slides)
09.09.2014 Class 2 (download slides)
09.05.2014 Class 1 (download slides)


The course grade will be based on:

10%: Participation
10%: 3 Quizzes
27%: Midterm exam
30%: Final exam
23%: Security labs

Last Modified: Wed Dec 3 00:27:57 EST 2014

Northeastern University, Boston, http://www.neu.edu