Tue, Thu 3:00pm–4:20pm, NCS 120
Instructor: Michalis Polychronakis
Office hours: Tue, Thu 4:20pm–5:20pm, NCS 355
Teaching Assistant: Daniel Delayo
Office hours: Thu 11:00am–12:00pm, NCS 236
Communication: Piazza


The course will cover a wide range of topics in computer system security, trying to strike a balance between core concepts and recent advancements. Although clearly distinguishing between “system” and “network” security is challenging, our focus will be on attacks and defenses most closely related to the endpoints rather than the network.

The main goal of the course is to provide an understanding of various computer security concepts through a more adversarial way of thinking. By focusing on vulnerabilities and exploitation techniques, the course will cover a broad range of topics, including software and hardware vulnerabilities, vulnerability discovery, exploitation techniques, malware, reverse engineering, basic cryptography, authentication, social engineering, and security concepts and technologies specific to operating systems, web browsers, servers, containers, and cloud environments.

All topics will be covered from a highly practical perspective, following a mixed format of lectures, hands-on sessions, research paper discussions, and case studies. Other requirements include four programming assignments and two exams.


Study Material

There is no required textbook. The following books are recommended:

Additionally, there will be recommended readings for each lecture—see the schedule.

Expected Outcomes

  • An understanding of the principles and practice of building and administering secure systems.
  • An understanding of authentication and access control, key management, and operating system security.
  • An ability to perform program-wide and system-wide security analysis, such as vulnerability discovery and intrusion detection.

University Policies

Students are expected to attend every class, report for examinations, and submit major graded coursework as scheduled. In the instance of missed lectures or labs, students are responsible for reviewing posted slides and supporting material. Students will be provided reasonable accommodations for missed exams, assignments, or projects due to significant illness, tragedy, or other personal emergencies, on a case-by-case basis. Students unable to report for any exams or complete major graded coursework as scheduled must contact the instructor as soon as possible. Make-up exams may be given only in extenuating circumstances, and only by providing a doctor's note stating that the student was ill and unfit to take the exam.

Student Accessibility Support Center

If you have a physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact the Student Accessibility Support Center, Stony Brook Union Suite 107, (631) 632-6748, or at sasc@stonybrook.edu. They will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Academic Integrity

Students must pursue their academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty is required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. Faculty in the Health Sciences Center (School of Health Professions, Nursing, Social Welfare, Dental Medicine) and School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty please refer to the academic judiciary website.

Critical Incident Management

Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn. Faculty in the HSC Schools and the School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures.