Cybersecurity Center

CSEC395 Computer Security Fundamentals

Course Description

Computer and cybersecurity basics: terminology, security principles, data security, security mechanisms, usable security, network defense, OS security, and legal/ethical issues. Not open to students with credit in CSEC 395. Prerequisite: CS 214 or consent of School.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will recognize the importance of cybersecurity in modern computing environments. 
  • Students will describe the meaning of common computer security terms and be able to use the correct terms applicable to given scenarios. 
  • Students will describe fundamental cybersecurity concepts and define major security principles. Students will be able to identify which security principles are violated, given a security incident. Also identify the security principles needed in a specific application scenario. 
  • Students will explain how security policies can be used to develop security mechanisms. Students will recognize the need for security policies and illustrate how those can be implemented using security mechanisms. 
  • Students will be able to recognize the importance of human-centered security. 
  • Students will be able to explain the components of a cryptographic system, and describe basic cryptographic methods for protecting information; students will be able to tell the difference between public keys, private keys, public key certificates, etc. 
  • Students will be able to identify the appropriate cryptographic tools and techniques to be used in a specific scenario. Students will be able to describe how cryptography can be used to protect information, strengths and weaknesses of cryptographic methods, block cipher modes, and identify some of the issues related to cryptographic implementations. 
  • Students will describe common attacks and threat actors. be able to understand the basics of threat modeling, system attacks and potential threat actors. 
  • Students will describe access control concepts and apply access control to protect specific system resources. 
  • Students will explain fundamental network defense concepts, defense tools and mechanisms such as firewalls, Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems. 
  • Students will be able to state appropriate response in the event of a security incident or intrusion. 
  • Students will be able to recall important legal/ethical aspects of computer security. Students will be able to describe the situations where cybersecurity practices can cause ethical conflicts. Students will be able to understand the federal, state, and local cybersecurity defense structures.