CS 395/495 Basic Information Security: Technology, Business and Law


Yan Chen, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University

Office Hours: Mon 3:30-5:30 pm or by appointment, Tech L459.


Andrea M. Matwyshyn, Assistant Professor of Law

Fredric G. Levin College of Law, University of Florida,


Office hours upon appointment

Teaching Assistant

Yan Gao

Office Hours: Friday, 1-3pm, 2-207, Ford Building

Location and Time

         Lectures: Monday 6 – 8:50pm, Tech Inst L170.

Course Description

The past decade has seen an explosion in the concern for the security of information. This course introduces students to security, privacy, reliability, and business integrity from an interdisciplinary perspective blending computer science with law and business. Our pedagogical strategy is to start with real world policy challenges to the future viability of creating a trusted technology-mediated marketplace and to help students understand these problems by deconstructing them through the eyes of the businesses, regulators and technologists who face these challenges. This unique course will be co-taught by two professors: one from computer science and the other from law. Topics include cryptography, authentication, software and operating system security (e.g., buffer overflow), Internet vulnerability (DoS attacks, viruses/worms, etc.), firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.

Course Prerequisites

  • Required: CS 110 (Introduction to Computer Programming) or instructor approval

Course Materials


  • Participation 20%
  • Homework 20%
  • Mid-term exam 30%
  • Final paper 30%


  • Course web site: http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~ychen/classes/cs395-f05/. Check it out regularly for schedule changes, clarifications and corrections to assignments, and other course-related announcements.
  • Email list will be available for announcement, and posting questions and answers.


  • Late policy:
    Unless otherwise indicated, homework and projects are due 11:59pm on their due date. If you hand in an assignment late, we will take off 10% for each day (or portion thereof) it is late.
  • Cheating:
    It's OK to ask someone about the concepts, algorithms, or approaches needed to do the project assignments, I encourage you to do so; both giving and taking advice will help you to learn. However, what you turn in must be your own, or for projects, your group's own work; copying other people's code, solution sets, or from any other sources is strictly prohibited. We will punish transgressors severely.