Introduction to Computer Security Winter 2020

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.

Face of Sabrina Brogren
Sabrina Brogren
Face of Colin Boerger
Colin Boerger
Face of Issa El-Amir
Issa El-Amir
Face of Joe Ginsburg
Joe Ginsburg
Face of Jensen Hwa
Jensen Hwa
Face of Jason Kim
Jason Kim
Face of Sid Sawhney
Sid Sawhney
Face of Prerana Shenoy
Prerana Shenoy
Face of Adam Spihlman
Adam Spihlman
Face of Ben Stoler
Ben Stoler
Lectures Section 001: Mon./Wed. 9:00–10:30, 1670 Beyster
Section 002: Mon./Wed. 10:30–noon, 1571 GGBL
Section 003: Mon./Wed. 3:00–4:30, 1571 GGBL
Lecture slides and videos will be posted on the day of each class.
Labs /
Office Hours
See calendar below. Lab sections will introduce tools and techniques that are important for completing the projects. All labs are in 1620 Beyster. Visit any professor’s office hours for help with security concepts. Visit any TA’s office hours for assignment help or grading concerns.
Communication We'll use Piazza for announcements, discussion, and questions about assignments and other course material. Assignments will be collected via GitHub and returned via Canvas. For administrative issues, email
Reference Books
No textbook is required, but if you would like additional references, we recommend:
Security Engineering by Ross Anderson
Cryptography Engineering by Ferguson, Schneier, and Kohno
Resources Security Research at Michigan
Security Reading Group (SECRIT)
EECS 588 (graduate-level security class)
Prerequisites EECS 281 required; EECS 201 and EECS 370 recommended


We'll calculate your course grade based on these components:

Assignments 65% Five projects (Projects 1–4 completed individually; Project 5 with a partner)
Participation 5% Attendance and forum activity, questions and intellectual contributions
Final Exam 30% One exam covering all material from the course (April 24, 7–9pm)

Ethics, Law, and University Policies

Warning To defend a system you need to be able to think like an attacker, and that includes understanding techniques that can be used to compromise security. However, using those techniques in the real world may violate the law or the university’s rules, and it may be unethical. Under some circumstances, even probing for weaknesses may result in severe penalties, up to and including expulsion, civil fines, and jail time. Our policy in EECS 388 is that you must respect the privacy and property rights of others at all times, or else you will fail the course.

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.” It is your responsibility to understand what applicable law prohibits. If in doubt, we can refer you to an attorney.

Please review the university’s policy on Responsible Use of Information Resources for guidelines concerning proper use of information technology at U-M, as well as the Engineering Honor Code. As members of the university, you are required to abide by these policies.

Students with Disabilities

If you believe you need an accommodation for a disability, please let an instructor know at the earliest opportunity. Some aspects of courses may be modified to facilitate your participation and progress. As soon as you make an instructor aware of your needs, they can work with the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office to help determine appropriate academic accommodations. Information you provide will be treated as private and confidential.

Mental Health and Wellness

The University of Michigan is committed to advancing the mental health and well-being of its students. A variety of issues—such as strained relationships, anxiety, alcohol or drug problems, and depression—can directly impact student academic performance. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or otherwise in need of support, services are available. Contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) or University Health Service (UHS).