Introduction to Computer Security Spring 2021

This course teaches the security mindset and introduces the principles and practices of computer security as applied to software, host systems, and networks. It covers the foundations of building, using, and managing secure systems. Topics include standard cryptographic functions and protocols, threats and defenses for real-world systems, incident response, and computer forensics. See the schedule for details.

Professors Michael Bailey
Office hours: By Appointment
Prerequisites Credit in CS 241 or ECE 391
Lecture Mon: 12:30 – 1:45pm, via echo360
Wed: 12:30 – 1:45pm, via echo360

This class consists of 28 pre-recorded lectures released during the semester at a rate of two per week (please see the schedule for details.
Discussion Sections We will release a discussion video to Echo360 on or before Monday each week. You should watch it before taking your weekly quiz. In addition, we will have synchronous discussion sections on Fridays to review material, answer questions, and complete exercises.

Fri. 09:00–09:50, via Zoom
Fri. 10:00–10:50, via Zoom
Fri. 11:00–11:50, via Zoom
Fri. 12:00–12:50, via Zoom
Fri. 13:00–13:50, via Zoom
Fri. 14:00–14:50, via Zoom
Fri. 15:00–15:50, via Zoom
TAs Zane Ma (, TA
Paul Murley (, TA
Joshua Reynolds (, TA
Office hours: MP3 TBD, Discord and

Communications We will make use of the following communication methods during this course:

  • We'll use Piazza for general discussion and questions about course material.
  • Grades will be managed through Compass2g.
  • Lecture videos are available on echo360.
  • Assignments will be distributed on the website.
  • You will submit assignments through your own Git repo in a course-semester GitHub organization, created by course staff.
  • Lecture slides and optional reading materials are on the website.
For administrative issues, email to contact the course staff.

Reference Books No textbook is required, but if you would like additional references, we recommend:

Resources Security and Privacy Research at Illinois
Security Course Roadmap


We'll calculate your course grade based on these components:
Programming Projects 40% Four programming projects, completed in teams of two
Quizes 15% 15 weekly quizzes assessing your undersanding of lecture and discussion section content
Midterm Exam 20% One exam covering material in the first half of class
Final Exam 25% One exam covering all material from the course

Statement on Mental Health

Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional wellbeing. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University’s resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do -- for yourself and for those who care about you.

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820

McKinley Health Center: 217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801

Ethics, Law, and University Policies Warning

This course will include topics related computer security and privacy. As part of this investigation we may cover technologies whose abuse could infringe on the rights of others. As computer scientists, we rely on the ethical use of these technologies. Unethical use includes circumvention of an existing security or privacy mechanisms for any purpose, or the dissemination, promotion, or exploitation of vulnerabilities of these services. Any activity outside the letter or spirit of these guidelines will be reported to the proper authorities and may result in dismissal from the class and possibly more severe academic and legal sanctions.

Acting lawfully and ethically is your responsibility. Carefully read the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a federal statute that broadly criminalizes computer intrusion. This is one of several laws that govern “hacking.” Understand what the law prohibits — you don’t want to end up like this guy. If in doubt, we can refer you to an attorney.

Please review the Campus Administrative Manual (especially Policy on Appropriate Use of Computers and Network Systems at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) for guidelines concerning proper use of information technology at Illinois, as well as the Student Code (especially 1-302 Rules of Conduct, 1‑402 Academic Integrity Infractions). As members of the university, you are required to abide by these policies.

Academic Integrity Policy

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Code should also be considered as a part of this syllabus. Students should pay particular attention to Article 1, Part 4: Academic Integrity. Read the Code at the following URL:

Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy: Ignorance is not an excuse for any academic dishonesty. It is your responsibility to read this policy to avoid any misunderstanding. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor(s) if you are ever in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or any other breach of academic integrity.

This course has a zero tolerance policy towards cheating. Cheating will result in a zero for the course and will also be reported to the university.

Sale or Distribution of Lecture Notes or Course Materials

As documented by 1-302 Rules of Conduct of the student code, "No student shall sell, deliver or distribute copyrighted lecture notes or other course materials without the express permission of the copyright holder. An example of an infraction would include posting on a website or selling instructor copyrighted slides, lecture notes or other expressions fixed in a medium."

Students with Disabilities

To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the as soon as possible. To insure that disability-related concerns are properly addressed from the beginning, students with disabilities who require assistance to participate in this class should contact Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) and see the instructor as soon as possible. If you need accommodations for any sort of disability, please speak to me after class, or make an appointment to see me, or see me during my office hours. DRES provides students with academic accommodations, access, and support services. To contact DRES you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603 (V/TDD), or e-mail a message to

Students with accommodations for testing will be asked to schedule their exams through the testing center. These exams MUST be scheduled for the same day as the in exam for the course.

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Obligation

The University of Illinois is committed to combating sexual misconduct. Faculty and staff members are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct to the University’s Title IX Office. In turn, an individual with the Title IX Office will provide information about rights and options, including accommodations, support services, the campus disciplinary process, and law enforcement options.

A list of the designated University employees who, as counselors, confidential advisors, and medical professionals, do not have this reporting responsibility and can maintain confidentiality, can be found here:

Other information about resources and reporting is available here:

Religious Observances

Illinois law requires the University to reasonably accommodate its students' religious beliefs, observances, and practices in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and work requirements. You should examine this syllabus at the beginning of the semester for potential conflicts between course deadlines and any of your religious observances. If a conflict exists, you should notify your instructor of the conflict and follow the procedure at to request appropriate accommodations. This should be done in the first two weeks of classes.

Emergency Response Recommendations

Emergency response recommendations can be found at the following website: I encourage you to review this website and the campus building floor plans website within the first 10 days of class.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Any student who has suppressed their directory information pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should self-identify to the instructor to ensure protection of the privacy of their attendance in this course. See for more information on FERPA.