e CS 161: Computer Security

CS 161 : Computer Security

Spring 2014


David Wagner (office hours Mon 4:20-5:20 in 733 Soda)


Emily Andrews (office hours Wed 10:30-12:30 in 611 Soda alcove)
Ava Dordi (office hours Thu 2-3, Fri 11-12 in 611 Soda alcove)
Matthew Fong (office hours Thu 9-11 in 611 Soda alcove)
Michael McCoyd (office hours Mon 10-12 in 751 Soda alcove)
Neel Rao (office hours Thu 4-5:30 in 283E Soda)
Rohin Shah (office hours Fri 2-3 in 611 Soda alcove and Mon 4-5 in 751 Soda alcove)
Chris Thompson (office hours Mon 1-2:30, Fri 11-12:30 in 751 Soda alcove)
Drew Zagieboylo (office hours Tue 1-2 in 411 Soda alcove and Wed 2-3 in 751 Soda alcove)


  MWF 3:00-4:00pm, 2050 Valley LSB


  1.   Tue 10:00-11:00           6 Evans (Neel)
  2.   Tue 11:00-12:00         87 Evans (Rohin)
  3.   Tue   12:00-1:00         71 Evans (Drew)
  4.   Tue     1:00-2:00         71 Evans (Emily)
  5.   Tue     2:00-3:00       71 Evans (Ava)
  6.   Tue     3:00-4:00         B5 Hearst Annex (Michael)
  7.   Tue     4:00-5:00       B56 Hildebrand (Matt)
  8.   Tue     5:00-6:00         75 Evans (Matt)
  9.   Tue     6:00-7:00         71 Evans (Rohin)
  10.   Tue     7:00-8:00         71 Evans (Michael)
  11.   Wed 10:00-11:00     B56 Hildebrand (Chris)
  12.   Wed 11:00-12:00   3105 Etcheverry (Chris)


Web page: http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs161/
Announcements, questions: the class Piazza site, which you sign up for here.
Feel free to mark your question as private if you don't want other students to see it.


The lecture schedule is subject to change and will be revised as the course progresses.

Data Topic Readings Slides
Wed 1/22 Introduction G&T § 1.1, Craft § 1-1.1, 1.3 slides
Fri 1/24 Injection vulnerabilities, buffer overflows, and memory safety Notes.
G&T § 3.4, Craft § 6.1-6.3
Mon 1/27 Software security Notes on Reasoning About Code and Secure Software Development.
Craft § 6.5-6.7
Wed 1/29 Access control, OS security Notes.
G&T § 1.2, Craft § 1.2
Fri 1/31 Malware G&T § 4.3-4.4, Craft § 6.4 slides
Mon 2/3 Security principles Notes.
G&T § 1.1.4, Craft § 3.4
Wed 2/5 Security principles   slides
Fri 2/7 Web security: access control, same-origin policy G&T § 7.1.1, 7.1.3, Craft § 12.1.1, 12.1.2, 12.1.3 slides
Mon 2/10 Web security: injection vulnerabilities G&T § 7.3.1, 7.3.2, 7.3.3 slides
Wed 2/12 Web security: XSS G&T § 7.2.6, 7.3.6 slides
Fri 2/14 Web security: session management G&T § 7.1.4, 7.2.1, 7.2.7, Craft § 12.1.4 slides
Mon 2/17 holiday
Wed 2/19 Web security: browsers G&T § 7.2.3 slides
Fri 2/21 Authentication and impersonation G&T § 7.2.2, Craft § 18.1, 18.2 slides
Mon 2/24 Midterm Exam
Wed 2/26 Background on networking G&T § 5.1, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 5.3.1, 5.4.0, 5.4.1, 5.4.2, Craft § 5.1, 5.4.1 slides
Fri 2/28 Network-level attacks G&T § 5.2.3, 5.3.3, 5.3.4, 5.4.4, Craft § 5.3.1 slides
Mon 3/3 Attacks on DNS G&T § 6.1.1-6.1.3
(Optional:) Kaminsky attack on DNS, Illustrated guide to the Kaminsky attack
Wed 3/5 Denial of service G&T § 5.5.0, 5.5.1, 5.5.2, 5.5.4 slides
Fri 3/7 Network security: firewalls Notes.
G&T § 6.2, Craft § 5.3.2
Mon 3/10 Network security: intrusion detection G&T § 6.4, Craft § 5.3.2 slides
Wed 3/12 Symmetric-key encryption Notes.
G&T § 8.1.0, 8.1.1, 8.1.3, 8.1.6, 8.1.7, Craft § 7.1, 7.3.2, 7.3.3
slides (partial)
Fri 3/14 Public-key key exchange Notes.
G&T § 8.2.1, 8.2.4, 8.2.3, Craft § 7.5
Mon 3/17 Public-key encryption, and integrity
Wed 3/19 Integrity, authentication, and public-key signatures Notes.
G&T § 8.2.3, 8.4.1, 8.4.3, Craft § 7.4.2
Fri 3/21 Key management Notes.
G&T § 1.3, Craft § 10.1-10.3, 10.5, 10.7, 9.7.1, 9.7.2
Mon 3/24 Spring Break
Wed 3/26 Spring Break
Fri 3/28 Spring Break
Mon 3/31 Password hashing Notes.
G&T § 8.3
Wed 4/2 Most common cryptography mistakes Craft § 8.1 slides
Fri 4/4 Midterm Exam
Mon 4/7 Crypto mistakes, cont., and TLS   slides
Wed 4/9 Securing Internet communications: TLS   slides
Fri 4/11 Securing Internet communications: DNSSEC   slides
Mon 4/14 TLS and DNSSEC wrap-up   slides
Wed 4/16 Bitcoin   slides
Fri 4/18 Bitcoin, cloud security, big data   slides
Mon 4/21 Secure multi-party computation, covert channels   slides
Wed 4/23 Side channels and tamper-resistant hardware   slides
Fri 4/25 Electronic voting   slides
Mon 4/28 Tracking on the web   slides
Wed 4/30 Cybercrime and the underground economy   slides
Fri 5/2 Internet freedom and anonymity   slides
Wed 5/14 Final Exam


Homeworks will be submitted either electronically either via glookup or PandaGrader. Homework solutions must be legible; we may mark off for difficult-to-read solutions, or even refrain from grading them entirely.
No late homeworks accepted.

Schedule for homeworks:

There will be approximately 3-4 homeworks.

Discussion Sections

Handouts from discussion sections:


There will be 3 course projects. We will penalize late project submissions as follows: less than 24 hours late, you lose 10%; less than 48 hours late, you lose 20%; less than 72 hours late, you lose 40%; at or after 72 hours, late submissions no longer accepted. (There are no "slip days".)

Note that this late policy applies only to projects, not homeworks (which cannot be turned in late).

Schedule for projects:

The slides from the CSUA's C review session are available in pdf and Powerpoint format.


There will be two midterms and one final exam.

The midterms will be given on Monday February 24 and Friday April 4 during regular class hours, 3:00-4:00pm, in the regular lecture room.

The final will be held Wednesday May 14, 7:00-10:00pm. Students with last name starting with A-L, please go to 230 Hearst Gym; those with last name starting with M-Z, go to 237 Hearst Gym.

All exams are mandatory. If you will be unable to attend any of these dates, you must contact the instructor (via a message on Piazza) at some point during the first week of classes.

A review worksheet is available to help study for the final exam.


We will compute grades from a weighted average, as follows:

  • Homeworks: 16%
  • Projects: 24%
  • Midterms: 30%
  • Final exam: 30%

Course Policies

Contact information: If you have a question, the best way to contact us is via the class Piazza site. The staff (instructors and TAs) will check the site regularly, and if you use it, other students will be able to help you too. Please avoid posting answers or hints on homework/project questions before the homework/project is due.

If your question is personal or not of interest to other students, you are encouraged to mark the question as private on Piazza. If you wish to talk with one of us individually in person, you are welcome to come to any of our office hours. We prefer that use these methods instead of sending us email; email regrettably does not scale well to a class of this size.

Announcements: The instructors and TAs will periodically post announcements, clarifications, etc. to the Piazza site. Hence it is important that you check it reguarly throughout the semester.

Prerequisites: The prerequisites for CS 161 are CS 61B, CS61C, and CS70. We assume basic knowledge of both Java and C. You will need to have a basic familiarity using Unix systems.

Collaboration: Homeworks will specify whether they must be done on your own or may be done in groups. Either way, you must write up your solutions entirely on your own. For homeworks, you must never read, see, or copy the solutions of other students, and you must not allow other students to see your solutions. For projects, you must never read, see, or copy the code or solutions of other students (except for your project partner, for group projects), and you must not allow other students (except for your project partner) to see your solutions or code.

You may use books or online resources to help solve homework problems, but you must always credit all such sources in your writeup and you must never copy material verbatim. Not only is this good scholarly conduct, it also protects you from accusations of theft of your colleagues' ideas. You must not receive help on homeworks or projects from students who have taken the course in previous years, and you must not review homework or project solutions from previous years.

You must ensure that your solutions will not be visible to other students. If you use Github or another source control system to store your solutions electronically, you must ensure your account is configured so your solutions are not publicly visible. If you use Github, Github offers free student accounts that allow you to keep your solutions private; please use one.

We believe that most students can distinguish between helping other students understand course material and cheating. Explaining a subtle point from lecture or discussing course topics is an interaction that we encourage, but you should never read another student's homework/project solution or partial solution, nor have it in your possession, either electronically or on paper (except for your project partner, for group projects). You must never share your solutions, or partial solutions, with another student (other than your project partner, for group projects), even with the explicit understanding that it will not be copied -- not even with students in your homework group. You must write your homework solution strictly by yourself.

Warning: Your attention is drawn to the Department's Policy on Academic Dishonesty. In particular, you should be aware that copying or sharing solutions, in whole or in part, from other students in the class or any other source without acknowledgment constitutes cheating. Any student found to be cheating risks automatically failing the class and referral to the Office of Student Conduct.

Ethics: We will be discussing attacks in this class, some of them quite nasty. None of this is in any way an invitation to undertake these attacks in any fashion other than with informed consent of all involved and affected parties. The existence of a security hole is no excuse. These issues concern not only professional ethics, but also UCB policy and state and federal law. If there is any question in your mind about what conduct is allowable, contact the instructors first.

Computer accounts: We will use 'class' accounts this semester. You will need to obtain an account form with a username and password from your discussion section TA. When you first log into your account, you will be prompted to enter information about yourself; that will register you with our grading software. If you want to check that you are registered correctly with our grading software, you can run check-register at any time.

Textbook: The class does not have a required textbook. That said, we particularly recommend Introduction to Computer Security by Michael Goodrich & Roberto Tamassia (ISBN-10: 0321512944, ISBN-13: 9780321512949). We also recommend The Craft of System Security by Sean Smith and John Marchesini. We will list optional readings from these textbooks which you can use to help learn the course topics.

Lecture notes: We will provide lecture notes and/or slides for many of the lectures. Lecture notes and slides are not a substitute for attending class, as our discussion in class may deviate from the written material. You are ultimately resposible for material as presented in lecture and section.

Discussion sections: Attendance at discussion sections is expected, and sections may cover important material not covered in lecture. Outside of your discussion section, you should feel free to attend any of the staff office hours (not just your section TA's office hours) and ask any of us for help.

Re-grading policies: Any requests for grade changes or re-grading must be made within one week of when the work was returned. To ask for a re-grade, staple to your work a cover page that specifies:

Give this to your TA. Without this page, your work will not be re-graded. Even if you ask for only one problem to be re-graded, your entire work may be re-graded, so your score could decrease, stay the same, or increase. We will not accept verbal re-grade requests or re-grade requests without a cover sheet stapled on. Don't expect us to re-grade your homework on the spot: we normally take the time to read your appeal at some point after it is submitted.

Bear in mind that a primary aim in grading is consistency, so that all students are treated the same. For this reason, we are unlikely to adjust the score of individual students on an issue of partial credit if the score allocated is consistent with the grading policy we adopted for that problem.

More on homeworks: If a problem can be interpreted in more than one way, clearly state the assumptions under which you solve the problem. In writing up your homework you are allowed to consult any book, paper, or published material, except solutions from previous classes or elsewhere, as stated under the Collaboration section. If you consult external sources, you must cite your source(s). We will make model solutions available after the due date, and feedback will be available via glookup or PandaGrader.

Late homework policy: We will give no credit for homework turned in after the deadline. Please don't ask for extensions. We don't mean to be harsh, but we prefer to make model solutions available shortly after the due date, which makes it impossible to accept late homeworks.

Don't be afraid to ask for help! Are you struggling? We'd much rather you approached us for help than gradually fall behind over the semester until things become untenable. Sometimes this happens when students fear a possibly unpleasant conversation with a professor if they admit to not understanding something. We would much rather resolve/remedy your misunderstanding early than have it expand into further problems later. Even if you are convinced that you are the only person in the class that doesn't understand the material, and think it must be entirely your fault for falling behind, please overcome this concern and ask for help as soon as you need it. Remember, helping you learn the material is in fact what we're paid to do, after all!

Advice: The following tips are offered based on our experience with CS 161:

1. Don't wait until the last minute to start projects! The projects can be time-consuming. Pace yourself. Students who procrastinate generally suffer.

2. Make use of office hours! The instructors and TAs hold office hours expressly to help you. It is often surprising how many students do not take advantage of this service. You are free to attend as many office hours as you wish. You are not constrained just to use the office hours of your section TA. You will likely get more out of an office hour visit if you have spent some time in advance thinking about the questions you have, and formulating them precisely. (In fact, this process can often lead you to a solution yourself!)

3. Participate actively in discussion sections! Discussion sections are not auxiliary lectures. They are an opportunity for interactive learning. The success of a discussion section depends largely on the willingness of students to participate actively in it. As with office hours, the better prepared you are for the discussion, the more you are likely to get out of it.