CIS 4930/6930, Fall 2015

Systems Security

Course Goals

This course aims at providing a comprehensive understanding of computer system security. The course will focus on how computer systems, specifically operating systems, are built in a way that makes breaching into a system harder. It will also cover basic security concepts, including common attack techniques, application of cryptography in security, authentication/authorization, and network security. The course will provide a number of historical aspects on how operating systems have evolved over time and how security consideration was brought into their design. Not only mechanisms for enhancing security will be taught, a great deal of the course is also to discuss when and where things can go wrong and how design flaws in a system can be exploited to compromise security. The goal of the course is to provide a solid theoretical foundation for computer system security, and hands-on experience in applying the theory to practice. Interesting research topics can also be derived from course projects.

Course Schedule

Instructor and course meeting times

Instructor: Xinming (Simon) Ou (xou at USF dot EDU), ENB339
TA: Xiaolong (Daniel) Wang (xiaolongw AT mail DOT
Meeting time: MW 2-3:15, in ENG 4
Office hour: Simon: Tue 1-3, Fri 1-2.


Basic understanding of computer systems, including operating systems, networks, compilers, etc. This is a course that primarily targets graduate students and junior/senior-level undergraduate students in computer science and engineering.

Reference book

Operating System Security. Trent Jaeger, Morgan & Claypool, 2008.


There will be on average one assignment per week, which could be a written homework, a programming project, or a reading assignment. There will be a midterm and final exam. The break down of the final score of the course is:


Questions can be emailed to xou (put some stuff here) usf (a little dot) edu.