AIT 682: Network and Systems Security (Fall 2019)

Course Description

This is a graduate level course on systems and network security. This course introduces the principles and practices of cryptography, network security, and secure software. It will cover security policies, models, and mechanisms for secrecy, integrity, and availability; basic cryptography and its applications; secret key cryptography; hash functions; basic number theory and public key cryptography; trusted intermediaries, and network security (firewalls, IDS, IPsec, and SSL) etc. It will also cover advanced security topics such as trustworthy computing and moving target defense.

Course Information

Class Time: W 4:30pm - 7:10pm
Class Location: Innovation Hall 135

Instructor: Dr. Kun Sun
Office Hours: W 10:00am - noon, Research Hall, Suite 417

Office Hours:
by appointment

Grading Policy

Term project


Each student is required to complete a mid-size project, which includes proposal, implementation, and final demo or paper. Each student must finish the project by himself/herself.

Requirements for project proposal.
Requirements for project final report.

Projects include but are not limited to:

  • Survey Paper [sample 1] [sample 2] [sample 3]
    • You can write a paper that surveys a particular field on information security. The outcome should be a paper that summarizes the trend in the field you have chosen. Basically, a computing survey article answers the questions, "What is currently known about this area, and what does it mean to researchers and practitioners?" It should supply the basic knowledge to enable new researchers to enter the area, current researchers to continue developments, and practitioners to apply the results. It does not require to publish "new" research. You can find some guidance on writing good survey paper by other researchers here and here. Your grade will be judged on the completeness of the survey, the quality of the trend analysis, and the quality of presentation.
    • Example topics:
      • Vulnerability Analysis
      • Wireless Security
      • Intrusion Detection
      • Authentication
      • Access Control
      • Authorization
      • DNS Security
      • Trusted Execution Environment
      • Cloud Security
      • etc.

  • Research Paper [sample 1] [sample 2]
    • You can work on original research problems. The outcome should be a paper with original technical contribution. Your grade on this will be judged on originality, soundness of the approach, and quality of presentation.
    • Example Topics:
      • Vulnerability Analysis
      • Wireless Security
      • Intrusion Detection
      • Authentication
      • Access Control
      • Authorization
      • DNS Security
      • Trusted Execution Environment
      • New Attacks
      • etc


Charlie Kaufman, Radia Perlman, and Mike Speciner, Network Security: Private Communication in a Public World (2nd Edition),
Prentice Hall, ISBN-13: 007-6092018469, ISBN-10: 0130460192

Here is the link to access the electronic copy via our library (If accessing on a non-Mason network, you will be asked to log in using your Blackboard credentials):

Class Schedule (tentative)

Note: the schedule will change as the course progresses. Please check frequently.

Reading Assignment
Homework Assignment
Topic 1. Introduction and Basic Security Concepts

Chapter 1

  1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 2. Basic Cryptography
Chapter 2
1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 3.1 Secret Key Cryptography -- Algorithms
Chapter 3.1 - 3.3, 3.5
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp

Topic 3.2 Secret Key Cryptography -- Modes of Operations, Triple DES, MAC

Chapter 4.1 - 4.4
HW1 (due by 10/03/2019) 1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 4. Message Digest
Chapter 5.1 - 5.2, 5.5 - 5.7
1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 4. Message Digest (Cont'd)
HW2 (due by 10/19/2019)  
Topic 5.1 Basic Number Theory -- Foundation of Public Key Cryptography
Chapter 6.1 - 6.2, 7.1 - 7.4
1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 5.1 (Cont'd)
Chapter 7.6 - 7.8

Topic 5.2 Public Key Cryptography

Chapter 6.3 - 6.4

1spp, 3spp, 6spp


Topic 5.2 (Cont'd)

Chapter 6.5 - 6.6
HW3 (due by 11/01/2019)
Topic 6.1 User Authentication
Chapters 9, 10 & 12
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 6.2 Design and Analysis of Authentication Protocols
Chapter 11.1-11.8
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp

Mid-term Preview

  Mid-term Preview
Mid-term Exam
Project proposal due 10/20/2019  
Mid-term Review
Topic 7.1 Kerberos
Chapters13 & 14
HW4 (due by 11/14/2019) 1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 7.2 PKI
Chapter 15
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 8.1 IPsec: AH and ESP
Chapters 16 and 17
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 8.2 IPsec: IKE
Chapter 18
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 8.2 (Cont'd)
HW5 (due by 11/28/2019)  
Topic 8.3 SSL/TLS
Chapter 19
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 8.4. Firewalls and IDS
Chapter 23
  1spp, 3spp, 6spp
Topic 9. Moving Target Defense
    1spp, 3spp, 6spp
No class (Thanksgiving).

No class. (Instructor is out of town)

Topic 10. Trustworthy Computing     1spp, 3spp, 6spp

Final Preview


Project final report due 12/10/2019

Final Exam
Time: 4:30pm - 7:15pm

Honor Code

Students are required to be familiar and comply with the requirements of the GMU Honor Code ( The Honor Code will be strictly enforced in this course.

Students with Disabilities

Any student with a disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations should contact the instructor immediately.


This course includes materials provided by Dr. Peng Ning (North Carolina State University).