Yan Chen, Assistant Professor
Room 330, 1890 Maple Ave., 491-4946.
Office Hours: Wed. 2-4pm, Rm 330, 1890 Maple Ave.

Teaching Assistant

Jason A. Skicewicz
Office Hours: Tu. and Th. 3:30pm - 4:30pm, Rm 321, 1890 Maple Ave.

Location and Time

·       Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday 2-3:20pm, Room 342, 1890 Maple.

Course Description

The evolution of Internet has spawned rich complexity and vulnerability in its infrastructure.  In this course, we will take a measurement-based approach to understand the complexity of the Internet, i.e., characterize, understand, and model the enormous volume and great variety of Internet traffic in terms of large-scale behaviors.  Based on that, we will investigate the vulnerability of the Internet when different services have evolved and innovated in different and competing ways, with increasingly less global consensus.


We will start with the basic concepts of security, cryptography, authentication and integrity, and then focus on security challenges of network and distributed systems as well as the counter-attack approaches.  In the first half of the course, we will study large-scale Internet attacks. Topics include the characterization, technologies, history and current defense of mobile malcode (virus/worm), denial of service (DoS) attacks, firewall technologies, intrusion detection systems (IDS), testbed and benchmark for security.  While lots of existing attacks can be discovered by their signatures, there are still many unknown, new attacks, and traffic anomalies.  In the second part of the class we examine these anomalies through investigating high-speed network measurement and monitoring, network fault diagnostics and root cause analysis, BGP/routing anomalies, network topology discovery, measurement-based inference, and overlay and peer-to-peer system monitoring.


During the course, we will read and discuss research papers, and identify a list of open research problems, from which the students can choose their class projects.  In addition to deploying end-to-end measurement on global network testbed, PlanetLab (, massive real-world anonymized router/gateway traffic data will be obtained to analyze the reliability/vulnerability of the Internet and to detect both well-known and unknown virus/worm/attacks.  Students can build their own anomaly/intrusion detection systems and have them benchmarked in a cluster-based emulation environment with real attacks, e.g., with root kits.

Course Prerequisites

  • Required: CS 340 or any equivalent computer network introductory courses.
  • Highly recommended: CS 213 or equivalent computer systems course.
  • Highly recommended: CS 343 or equivalent operating systems course.
  • Highly recommended: UNIX programming experience (gcc, gdb, make, etc.)

Course Materials


No exams for this class.

  • Class participation and discussion 10%
  • Paper reading summary 10%
  • In class paper presentation 15%
  • Project 65%
    1. Proposal and survey 5%
    2. Design document 5%            
    3. Weekly report and meeting 5%
    4. Project presentation 25%
    5. Final report 25%

Papers Reading and Presentation

There is no required textbook. All reading will be from papers. Whenever possible, handouts and papers will be placed online on the web page.  A schedule of assigned readings is available online.

To ensure lively discussions, you will be required to write a very brief summary of each paper you read, to be electronically handed in to the TA before the beginning of the class when the reading is due.  Your summary should include at least:

  • Paper title and its author(s).
  • Brief one-line summary.
  • A paragraph of the one or two most significant new insight(s) you took away from the paper.
  • A paragraph of the one or two most significant flaw(s) of the paper: maybe an experiment was poorly designed or the main idea had a narrow scope or applicability. Being able to assess weaknesses as well as strengths is an important skill for this course and beyond.
  • A last paragraph where you state the relevance of the ideas today, potential future research suggested by the article, etc.


We will start each class with an introduction of the basic problems/ideas/solutions (10 minutes), followed by student presentations of the two papers assigned. For each paper, there are 20 minutes for presentation, and 10 minutes for discussion.  We will summarize them with the last 10 minutes.  Some rules for the paper presentation are available online.


Each presentation should include at least the following from the paper:

  • Motivation
  • Classification of related work and background
  • Main ideas
  • Evaluation and results
  • Open issues


You must send the slides to the TA and me for review at least 24 hours before your presentation. There are some guidelines suggested by Fabián E. Bustamante which you will find useful.


  • Course web site: Check it out regularly for schedule changes, clarifications and corrections to assignments, and other course-related announcements.
  • Email list and newsgroup (cs.netsec) will be available for announcement, and posting questions and answers.


  • Late policy:
    Since there are many small handin (e.g., paper summary, work-in-progress report)  for this course, we do not accept late submissions.
  • Work division:
    I will try to group undergrad and grad students together. While more work is certainly expected for the grad students, undergraduate students should also be responsible for significant portion of the project and each undergrad in the team should do similar amount of work.  At the end of the quarter, we will ask each one to submit a brief description on work division of his/her team.