CS 161 : Computer Security

Summer 2019


Rafael Dutra, Ruta Jawale, and an awesome team of talented TAs: Spencer McCall, Ryan Lehmkuhl and Peyrin Kao.


Mo/Tu/We/Th 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, Li Ka Shing 245


Web page: https://inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs161/su19/
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.

Midterms & Final:

There will be two midterms and one final exam.
  • MT1: July 15, 5pm-7pm, LeConte Hall, Room 1.
  • MT2: August 5, 5pm-7pm, LeConte Hall, Room 1.
  • Final: August 15, 5pm-8pm, LeConte Hall, Room 1.

DSP and other accommodation contact:

Please send a private post on Piazza.


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

Date Topic Readings Slides
Mon 6/24 Introduction [optional: G&T § 1.1, Craft § 1-1.1, 1.3] Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Tue 6/25 Security Principles Notes on Principles for Building Secure Systems.
Notes on Design Patterns for Building Secure Systems.
[G&T § 1.1.4, 3.4.6]
Lecture Slides
Wed 6/26 Overflows, Injection,
and Memory Safety
Notes on Memory Safety.
[G&T § 3.4, Craft § 6.1-6.3]
Smashing The Stack For Fun And Profit, by Aleph One
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Slides from Matthias Vallentin on a Normal x86 function call, a crash, a control-flow diversion, and Code Injection.
Thu 6/27 Software Security: Defenses Notes on Reasoning About Code and Secure Software Development.
[G&T § 9.4-9.5; Craft § 6.5-6.7]
Eevee's guide for Testing for People Who Hate Testing
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Mon 7/1 IND-CPA, OTP and Block ciphers Notes.
[G&T § 8.1.0-8.1.3, 8.1.6-8.1.7; Craft § 7.1, 7.3.2 - 7.3.3]
Lecture Slides
Tue 7/2 Symmetric key encryption Notes.
[G&T § 8.1.0-8.1.3, 8.1.6-8.1.7; Craft § 7.1, 7.3.2 - 7.3.3]
Lecture Slides
Wed 7/3 Public Key Exchange Notes.
[G&T § 1.3-1.3.1, 1.3.3, 8.2, 8.5.2; Craft § 7.5]
Lecture Slides
Thu 7/4 No class
Mon 7/8 Public Key Encryption, Hashing Notes, section 2.
[G&T § 1.3-1.3.1, 1.3.3, 8.2, 8.5.2]
Lecture Slides
Tue 7/9 Integrity and Authentication Notes.
[G&T § 1.3.2, 1.3.4, 8.2.3, 8.3, 8.4.1, 8.4.3; Craft § 7.4.2]
Lecture Slides
Wed 7/10 CryptoFails Notes.
[G&T § 1.3.2, 1.3.4, 8.2.3, 8.3, 8.4.1, 8.4.3; Craft § 7.4.2]
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Thu 7/11 Bitcoin Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
Risks of Cryptocurrencies
Nick Weaver's ENIGMA slides (with notes)
Crypto Slides pdf pptx
Bitcoin Slides
Mon 7/15 Midterm 1
Tue 7/16 Network security: Background Networking terminology quick-reference.
[G&T § 5.1-5.1.2, 5.3-5.3.1, 5.4-5.4.2, 6.1-6.1.2, 7.1-7.1.1; Craft § 5.1, 5.4.1]
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Wed 7/17 Network Attacks: Lower Layers [G&T § 5.1.3, 5.2.3, 5.3.3-5.3.4, 5.4.4; Craft § 5.3.1]
Two pieces on Packet Injection.
Wikipedia of note: Ethernet, Network Switches, DHCP, ARP
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Thu 7/18 Network Attacks: DNS & TCP G&T § 6.1.3 (pp. 278-284)
Reliable DNS Forgery in 2008: Kaminsky's Discovery
An Illustrated Guide to the Kaminsky DNS Vulnerability
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Mon 7/22 Network Attacks: TCP and TLS G&T § 1.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.3 Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Tue 7/23 Denial of Service [G&T § 5-5.4]
Mitigating Multiple DDoS Attack Vectors [G&T § 4.4, 6.1.4]
The WoSign Saga
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Wed 7/24 Firewalls, DNSSEC Notes on Firewalls.
[G&T § 6.2, 6.3 intro, 6.3.3; Craft § 5.3.2]
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Thu 7/25 Intro to web security, Same-origin policy [G&T § 7.1.1, 7.1.3-7.1.4, 7.3.1-7.3.2, 7.3.4, 7.3.6; Craft § 12.1.1, 12.1.2, 12.1.3]
Web Security: Are You Part Of The Problem?
Mon 7/29 SQL Injection SQL Injection Attacks by Example
XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Prevention Cheat Sheet
Tue 7/30 XSS and Cookies Secure Session Management With Cookies for Web Applications Slides
Wed 7/31 CSRF and Session Management [G&T § 7.1.4, 7.2.1, 7.2.7, Craft § 12.1.4]
Thu 8/1 Tor Tor: The Second-Generation Onion Router
Tor Overview, Onion Services
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Mon 8/5 Midterm 2
Tue 8/6 Project 2 Design Discussion
Wed 8/7 Network Monitoring [G&T § 6.4] Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Thu 8/8 Abusing Network Monitoring [G&T § 6.4] Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Mon 8/12 Malcode and Reflections on Trusting Trust [G&T § 6.4][G&T § 4.2, 4.5], A Taxonomy of Computer Worms. Optional but cool: Outwitting the Witty Worm. Reflections on Trusting Trust. Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Tue 8/13 Tracking on the Web Slides
Wed 8/14 Hardware Attacks / Conclusions [G&T § 4.3]
EFF Surveillance Self-Defense
Lecture Slides pdf pptx
Thu 8/15 Final Exam



Rafael Tupynambá Dutra Ruta Jawale

Spencer McCall Ryan Lehmkuhl Peyrin Kao

Office hours:

Time Room TA
Mo 3:00 - 5:00 PM Soda 651 Peyrin
Mo 5:00 - 6:00 PM Soda 651 Ryan
Tu 10:00 - 11:00 AM Soda 611 Ruta Jawale
Tu 2:00 - 3:00 PM Soda 651 Rafael Dutra
Tu 3:00 - 4:00 PM Soda 651 Spencer
We 10:00 - 11:00 AM Soda 611 Ruta Jawale
We 3:00 - 5:00 PM Soda 651 Spencer
Th 10:00 - 11:00 AM Soda 611 Ruta Jawale
Th 2:00 - 3:00 PM Soda 651 Rafael Dutra
Th 3:00 - 4:00 PM Soda 651 Peyrin
Fr 2:00 - 3:00 PM Soda 651 Rafael Dutra

Discussion Section Handouts:

  1. Discussion 0: No Handout
  2. Discussion 1: x86, GDB and Security Principles: worksheet; solutions
  3. Discussion 2: TCB, Buffer Overflows and Defenses: worksheet; solutions
  4. Discussion 3: Cryptography I: worksheet; solutions
  5. Discussion 4: Cryptography II: worksheet; solutions
  6. Discussion 5: Cryptography III: worksheet; solutions
  7. Discussion 6: Network I: worksheet; solutions
  8. Discussion 7: Network II: worksheet; solutions
  9. Discussion 8: Network III: worksheet; solutions
  10. Discussion 9: Web I: worksheet; solutions
  11. Discussion 10: Web II: worksheet; solutions
  12. Discussion 11: Special Topics I: worksheet; solutions
  13. Discussion 12: Special Topics II: worksheet; solutions

Discussion Section Times:

Section Time Room TA
101 Mo/We 1:00 - 2:00 PM Dwinelle 242 Spencer
102 Mo/We 2:00 - 3:00 PM Wheeler 224 Peyrin
103 Mo/We 2:00 - 3:00 PM Dwinelle 229 Ryan


Homeworks will be submitted electronically via Gradescope.
No late homeworks accepted.

Schedule for homeworks:

  • HW0: Logistics and Setup. Due on June 26.
  • HW1: Memory Safety and Crypto. Due on July 9.
  • HW2: Network and Web Security. Due on August 2.
  • HW3: Review and Network Monitoring. Due on August 13.

Homeworks are different from prior semesters'. If you previously take a look at the prior semesters' questions, note that they might already be changed.


There will be three 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 (homeworks cannot be turned in late).

Schedule for projects:


There will be two midterms and one final exam.

All exams are mandatory. If you will be unable to attend any of the dates, you must contact the instructor during the first week after the times are finalized.

  • MT1: July 15, 5pm-7pm, LeConte Hall, Room 1.
  • MT2: August 5, 5pm-7pm, LeConte Hall, Room 1.
  • Final: August 15, 5pm-8pm, LeConte Hall, Room 1.
If you have a time conflict with the exams, let us know early so we can schedule an alternative time.


We will compute grades from a weighted average, as follows:
Homeworks: 10% (1% HW0, 3% HW1, 3% HW2, 3% HW3)
Projects: 30% (9% Project 1, 12% Project 2, 9% Project 3)
Midterms: 30% (15% MT1, 15% MT2)
Final exam: 30%

Course Policies

Contact Information
Computer accounts
Lecture notes
Discussion sections
Re-grading policies
Late homework policy

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 for either homeworks or projects before the assignment is due.

If your question is personal or not of interest to other students, we encourage you to mark the question as private on Piazza: select "Post to: Individual Student(s)/Instructor(s)" at the top and then type "Instructors" in the field underneath it. 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 using these methods instead of sending email; regrettably, email does not scale well to a class of this size.


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


The prerequisites for CS 161 are CS61C (Machine Structures), and CS70 (Discrete Mathematics). You will need to have a basic familiarity using Unix systems. We assume basic programming experience in common languages (C, Java, Python). Projects typically involve analyzing C programs and developing an application in Go. No prior knowledge of Go is expected.


Homeworks may be done on your own or may be done in groups. Either way, you must write up your solutions entirely on your own. As a general rule of thumb, you should never possess solutions to exact homework questions other than solutions you have written yourself. 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 (other than your project partner, for group projects), nor allow students other than your partner to see your solutions or code.

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 assignment solution or partial solution, nor have it in your possession (other than for project partners). You must never share your written solutions, or partial solutions, with another student. You must write your homework solution strictly by yourself. You must not ask for homework/project solutions on Stack Overflow or other online sites; you may ask for help with conceptual questions, but you must credit your sources. You must not receive help on assignments 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 private repositories that allow you to keep your solutions private; please use one.

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 will (1) be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, (2) receive negative points on the assignment (i.e., worse than not doing it at all), and, depending on severity, (3) fail the course. Cheating students will be directed to Nick Weaver and should know that he is noted for having a sense of vengeance.


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

If you need access to instructional computers, you can get a class account here. When you first log in to your account, you will be prompted to enter information about yourself. A list of available Instructional "login servers" that can be sshed into can be found here.


The class does not have a required textbook. We have not found one that fully treats the material covered in the course, and we want to help you save money, so please don't feel obligated to buy a textbook. However, we know that some students appreciate additional reading to supplement lectures; for them, we recommend Introduction to Computer Security by Goodrich & Tamassia. We also recommend The Craft of System Security by Smith & Marchesini. We will list readings from these textbooks in the syllabus, but these are entirely optional.

Lecture notes

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

Summer sessions are not webcast.

Discussion sections

Discussion sections will sometimes cover important material not presented in lecture, and we expect you will attend. 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. If your discussion section is too crowded, feel free to switch to a different one.

Re-grading policies

Any requests for grade changes or re-grading must be made within one week of when the work was returned. Requests should be submitted on Gradescope. We will not accept verbal re-grade requests. Note that a re-grade can result in a decreased score as well as an increased score, if upon revisiting we discover problems in your work that we previously overlooked.

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 Gradescope.

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. Helping you learn the material is what we're here to do, after all!

Likewise, if you are a DSP student, please get your letters in now.


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.