Course Description

This course will provide students with a basic and comprehensive understanding of the problems of information assurance (IA) and the solutions to these problems, especially the security of information on computers and networks. This course will focus on the IA technology as well as IA policy, management, legal, and ethical aspect1.


Computer Information Systems BS major, Computer Systems Engineering BSE major, Computer Science BS major, or Industrial Engineering BSE major; CIS 235, CSE 220, or CSE 240 with C or better.

Recommended Textbook

All material for the course will be provided in lecture, however we will use an excellent textbook as supplementary material.

Introduction to Computer Security, Matt Bishop, ISBN: 0321247442

Course Communication

All announcements and communications for the class will take place through the class piazza.

Student may use the class piazza to ask questions or clarifications, and the TA, Instructor, or other students can answer. Note that the advice in How to Ask Questions the Smart Way will increase the chances of getting your question answered. While I highly encourage students to help each other on piazza, please do not go overboard and send your fellow student code (this will be considered cheating). It is better to point out their mistake or direct them to a resource that can help solve their problem, rather than giving them the answer. Note that sharing solutions or answers is expressly prohibited and will result in academic sanctions.

Questions meant for the professor and/or TAs should be addressed as a private post on the class piazza.

Note that if you email us directly, and we deem it necessary and helpful, we will post our reply on the class Piazza (including context necessary from your email).

Course Topics


Students will be evaluated on their performance on homework and Capture the Flags (CTF).

Homework Assignments

There will be three–seven homework assignments in the course, covering the material presented in the lectures.

Midterm CTF

There will be a midterm CTF. The miderm CTF will be a week-long practical examination of the material from lectures and the assignments. Students will work on the midterm CTF individually.

Final CTF

There will be a final CTF. The miderm CTF will be a week-long practical examination of the material from lectures and the assignments. Students will work on the final CTF individually.


Area Weight %
Homework 70
Midterm CTF 10
Final CTF 20

The preliminary thresholds for assigning a letter grade are the following:

Letter Grade Threshold
A+ 100
A 93
A- 90
B+ 86
B 83
B- 80
C+ 74
C 70

We reserve the right to curve the grades (by lowering the thresholds), depending on the circumstances.

Letter grade and Y grade options

In ASU’s grading scheme, a “Y” grade is generally used as a grade for successfully completed internships, projects, readings and conference, research, seminars, theses, dissertations, and workshops. A “Y” grade is essentially equivalent to a pass grade (but does not affect your GPA calculation), while the default is a letter grade. Given the current circumstances, students have the option to request that they be graded with the Y grade option. The deadline to make the request will be announced on piazza. If a student does not request to be graded with the “Y” grade option by the deadline, the default is the letter grade option. Details of how to request Y grading will be given on the course piazza.

To earn a “Y” grade, the student should earn the equivalent of “C” or above. If the student’s score in the course does not meet the minimum threshold for a “C” grade, the assigned grade will be “D”. This applies to the “Y” grade option and the letter grade option. Note that it is not clear how graduate programs will look at a “Y” grade on the transcript, so you should weigh your decision carefully.

As a recap:

Homework Due Dates and Exam Dates

Homework due dates and exam dates will be posted well in advance on the class website and announced in class.

For each day an assignment is late, a 20% deduction will be assessed. Exams will be given in class and are closed book and closed note. Makeup exams are typically not given unless under extenuating circumstances. Laptops, phones, calculators, and other smart devices are not allowed during exams.

If an exam date conflicts with a religious holiday (in accordance with ACD 304-04) or other university sanctioned activities (in accordance with ACD 304-02) you should let us know at least two weeks before the exam date to schedule a makeup exam.

Homework Help Blackout

There will be a help blackout T-6 hours from the deadline. This means that starting six hours from the assignment deadline students should not expect help on any platform / communication method from the professors, TAs, and UGTAs. The goal is to help everyone’s sanity: everyone can start earlier (and submit their assignment early), and we can help people when they are not panicked. It will also help folks to read through posts on piazza (99% of the questions we receive have already been answered).

Special Accommodations

Students requesting disability accommodations should register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and present the instructor with appropriate documentation from the DRC.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Plagiarism or any form of cheating in assignments, projects, or exams is subject to serious academic penalty. To understand your responsibilities as a student read: ASU Student Code of Conduct and ASU Student Academic Integrity Policy.

You are allowed to use code snippets that you find online (StackOverflow or otherwise) provided that you provide, as part of a comment in your source code, the source of the code. These snippets should not constitute a significant part of your code. Using another student’s code, past or present, even with a citation is a violation of the academic integrity policy.

There is a zero tolerance policy in this class: any violation of the academic integrity policy will result in a zero on the assignment and the violation will be reported to the Dean’s office. Plagiarism is taken very seriously in this course. To date, the professor has issued 27 academic integrity policy violations.

Examples of academic integrity violations include (but are not limited to):

Posting your assignment code online is expressly forbidden, and will be considered a violation of the academic integrity policy. Note that this includes working out of a public Github repo. The Github Student Developer Pack provides cool stuff in addition to the free unlimited private repositories that Github provides. If you want to impress employers with your coding abilities, create an open-source project that is done outside of class.

Syllabus Update

Information in the syllabus, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice.

Work-life Balance

We care about your health, physically and mentally. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. ASU Counseling Services offers help 24/7. Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.

If you have questions about this or your coursework, please let us know.

Title IX

Title IX is a federal law that provides that no person be excluded on the basis of sex from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity. Both Title IX and university policy make clear that sexual violence and harassment based on sex is prohibited. An individual who believes they have been subjected to sexual violence or harassed on the basis of sex can seek support, including counseling and academic support, from the university. If you or someone you know has been harassed on the basis of sex or sexually assaulted, you can find information and resources at

As mandated reporters, we are obligated to report any information we become aware of regarding alleged acts of sexual discrimination, including sexual violence and dating violence. ASU Counseling Services, is available if you wish to discuss any concerns confidentially and privately. ASU online students may access 360 Life Services,

  1. © Copyright 2021 Adam Doupé and Tiffany Bao as to this syllabus, all lectures, and course-related written materials. During this course students are prohibited from making audio, video, digital, or other recordings during class, or selling notes to or being paid for taking notes by any person or commercial firm without the express written permission of the faculty member teaching this course.