COSC 534: Advanced Comptuer Security
Fall 2022

Instructor: Prof. Benjamin E. Ujcich
Instructor Email: bu31 [at] georgetown [dot] edu

TA Email: TBD

Room: Reiss Science Building 262
Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 8:00 – 9:15 AM ET

Office Hours: Wednesdays 9:30 – 10:30 AM ET (Ben) or by appointment (see Canvas for Zoom info)

Course Description

This course is a graduate-level treatment of the concepts and principles in systems, networking, and software security. Topics covered include foundational principles, secure design principles, policy models, identity, access control, information flow, confinement, program analysis, auditing, forensics, attack modeling, and applications of security on special topics.

Textbook and Readings

Course Communications

The information on this course website is subject to change. Please check back regularly!

We will make use of the following communication methods during this course:

  • Announcements will be announced during class and posted on Canvas.
  • Lectures will be in person. Lectures will be recorded and posted later on the course Canvas page under the Panopto tab.
  • The course schedule and assignment information will be posted on this page.
  • Paper discussions and notes will be managed through Perusall (link within Canvas).
  • Grades and assignment submissions will be managed through Canvas.
  • The class forum will be managed through Piazza, which can also be found on the course Canvas page under the Piazza tab. Note that Piazza will often be the easiest, fastest, and most efficient way to get in contact.

If you have general questions about assignments, course content, or course logistics, please post these questions publicly in Piazza. This is an open forum, and you are encouraged to help each other.

If you have requests related to grading, solution-specific assignment questions (i.e., questions that would reveal partial or full solutions), office hour meetings (outside of the normal course office hours), or extensions, please post these questions privately in Piazza to all instructors (i.e., course instructor and TAs).

For personal or confidential issues, e-mail the course instructor directly.


See the assignments page for more information. Semester grades will be calculated as follows:

  • 15%: Homework assignments
  • 20%: Midterm exam
  • 35%: Paper readings and presentations
    • 15%: Paper comments and participation
    • 20%: Paper presentations
  • 30%: Term project
    • 5%: Proposal
    • 5%: Midpoint report
    • 10%: Final presentation
    • 10%: Final report

Letter grade policy

Final letter grades will be based on the weighted final average, as computed using the above list. This average will be converted to a letter grade as follows:

  • A: 100% to 94.0%
  • A-: less than 94.0% to 90.0%
  • B+: less than 90.0% to 87.0%
  • B: less than 87.0% to 84.0%
  • B-: less than 84.0% to 80.0%
  • C+: less than 80.0% to 77.0%
  • C: less than 77.0% to 74.0%
  • C-: less than 74.0% to 70.0%
  • F: less than 70.0% to 0.0%

Late work policy

Due dates will be posted for all assignments and exams.

Late work will not be accepted for credit, except as follows:

You will be given a budget of five (5) late passes that you can use throughout the semester. This budget is to account for any reasons why you may need to submit work later than the posted deadline, while balancing fairness towards other classmates.

For instance, you could use your late pass budget in the following ways:

  • submit 1 assignment up to 5 days late without penalty (1 assignment * 5 days late = 5 late passes),
  • submit 5 assignments up to 1 day late each without penalty (5 assignments * 1 day late = 5 late passes),
  • submit 2 assignments up to 2 days late each, along with 1 assignment up to 1 day late without penalty (2 assignments * 2 days late + 1 assignment * 1 day late = 5 late passes), or
  • any other combination that adds up to at most 5 late passes.

You can use these passes however you wish, and on whichever assignment(s) you want (except for the midterm exam), subject to the following:

  • You must submit a request via Piazza to let the instructor and TA know that you intend on using late pass(es). To submit an late pass request on Piazza, select ‘Individual Student(s) / Instructor(s)’ under “Post To”, type ‘Instructors’ in the text box that appears, and select both the late folder and the assignment folder (e.g., hw1) so that the instuctors and TAs know that this is an late pass request.
  • You must submit this request at the latest by the time that you submit your assignment. Late passes will not be applied retroactively.
  • Once a late pass has been applied, you cannot change the assignment it applies to.

If an assignment is submitted late and no request for using a late pass has been submitted (or you have no remaining late passes), no credit will be given for the assignment.

For extenuating longer-term circumstances, please e-mail the course instructor directly.

Regrade request policy

You may appeal to the instructor for reconsideration of a grade. The appeal must be submitted in writing on Piazza, and must be sent within three weeks (or the close of the semester, whichever is sooner) of receiving the graded assignment. Grades not appealed within this period will not be recalculated at a later date.

Note: Regrading applies to the entire assignment, which may result in the grade remaining the same, being raised, or being lowered.

To submit a regrade request on Piazza, select ‘Individual Student(s) / Instructor(s)’ under “Post To”, type ‘Instructors’ in the text box that appears, and select both the grades folder and the assignment folder (e.g., hw1) so that the instuctors and TAs know that this is a regrade request.

University and Department Policies

You are required to familiarize yourself with the University’s Information Security Policy and Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy. Enrollment in this class does not constitute a waiver of these policies. You are expected and required to obey all University policies. Talk to the instructor before conducting any network experiments.

The course follows the Departmental Honor Policy, which (among other topics) includes information about what constitutes academic plagairism and cheating. If you are unsure whether or not a certain practice is permissible, please ask the instructor beforehand.

Your participation is subject to the University’s Policy on Audio and Video Recordings During Virtual Learning Environment. Please familiarize yourself with the full policy here.

Additional University policies can be found here.

Please familiarize yourself with the University’s COVID-19 FAQ page for questions on COVID-related policies.

Special Accommodations

If you believe that you have a disability that will affect your performance in this class, please contact the Academic Resource Center ( for further information. The center is located in the Leavey Center, Suite 335. The Academic Resource Center is the campus office responsible for reviewing documentation provided by students with disabilities and for determining reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and University policies.

Support Services

Georgetown recognizes that COVID-19 has a significant impact on everyone in the Georgetown community. Georgetown offers a variety of support services for students that can be accessed online and has put together this newsletter, which aims to provide you with information about well-being resources and virtual meetings that can connect you with mental health professionals on and off campus during this time. Below are some resources available to you:

Georgetown University and its faculty are committed to supporting survivors and those impacted by sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence, and stalking. Georgetown requires faculty members, unless otherwise designated as confidential, to report all disclosures of sexual misconduct to the University Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. If you disclose an incident of sexual misconduct to a professor in or outside of the classroom (with the exception of disclosures in papers), that faculty member must report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, or Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The coordinator, will, in turn, reach out to the student to provide support, resources, and the option to meet. Please note that the student is not required to meet with the Title IX coordinator.

Please note that University policy requires faculty to report any disclosures about sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, whose role is to coordinate the University’s response to sexual misconduct. Georgetown has a number of fully confidential professional resources who can provide support and assistance to survivors of sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct. These resources include:

  • Jen Schweer, MA, LPC, Associate Director of Health Education Services for Sexual Assault Response and Prevention, 202-687-0323 or
  • Erica Shirley, Trauma Specialist, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), 202-687-6985 or

More information about reporting options and resources can be found on the Sexual Misconduct Website.

Georgetown University is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for pregnant and parenting students. Students may request adjustments based on general pregnancy needs or accommodations based on a pregnancy-related complication. Specific adjustments will be handled on a case by case basis and will depend on medical needs and academic requirements. Students seeking a pregnancy adjustment or accommodation should follow the process laid out on the Title IX website.

Discrimination based on sex, including sexual misconduct and discrimination based on pregnancy or parenting status, subverts the University’s mission and threatens permanent damage to the educational experience, careers, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff.