Syllabus

Course Title and Description

CPEN 442, “Introduction to Cybersecurity,” is a fourth year undergraduate elective course that introduces students to the subject of cybersecurity from the technical, economic, and human points of view. The purpose of this course is to help students in learning the principles of cybersecurity in general and of designing secure systems in particular.

For the course description and pre/co-requisites, see the entry for CPEN courses in UBC Academic Calendar.

Registration restrictions: see the course entry in the UBC Course Schedule.

Announcements: Most announcements for the course are made during class sessions. If you miss a class, it’s your responsibility to learn from your classmates about the announcements made during the missed class. Sometimes, the teaching staff will make time-sensetive announcements on Piazza site of the course. It’s expected that all students check Piazza site every working day.

Contact Information

  • For all enquiries, contact teaching assistants of the course by sending a private message to the teaching staff on Piazza site of the course.
  • Due to the large volume of email messages, teaching staff cannot respond to your emails in timely manner. As such, we highly discourage you to rely on email in your communications with the teaching staff, including the course instructor.
  • You can contact the course instructor during his office hours (see the course session calendar) or right after the class.

Course Instructor

Prof. Konstantin Beznosov, Ph.D., PEng. Office hours: online and in-person,  see course session calendar for instructor office hours.

Teaching Assistants

  • Masoud Mehrabi Koushki, Ph.D. candidate. Office hours: See course session calendar for lab sessions.
  • Yue Huang, Ph.D. candidate. No office hours.
  • TBD. No office hours.

Course Structure, Activities, and Assessment

In order to pass the course, each student must complete the following modules:

  1. Term Project

    Students will be responsible for a final project. You should work in groups of 4 students. There should be no more than one graduate student in each group. Contribution of each student to the term project will be evaluated by the other team members via iPeer, and prorated accordingly to the scores given by the other teammates.

    The nature and the topic of the project is your choice, although it needs the approval of the course instructor. For inspiration, you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with projects done by students in the previous years to figure out the best scope and the technical level of your project. We will generally approve any interesting topic related to the wide area of cyber security and privacy.

    Your group will need to present the project proposal and submit a written proposal (see the course calendar site for the submission deadline). It is highly advisable to get going early. The instructor will gladly discuss proposals during office hours before the deadline. Presentation and submission of project proposals gives the teaching staff a chance to review and approve your project proposal, and to suggest references that you may have overlooked.

    One whole day (in the form of mini-conference) at the end of the term will be devoted to short presentations of each term project. You will submit a written report on your project and a video clip.

  2. Homework assignments

    There are both in-class assignments (which you are to solve during lab sessions) and take-home assignments. Most assignments are to be submitted through Canvas.

    All assignments are to be done in groups. Once term project groups are finalized, you are to work on group assignments with the same team as term projects (for the first assignment, students might be assigned to groups randomly). Get your group organized as soon as you can, and create your group on Canvas. For take-home assignments, contribution of each student will be evaluated by the other team members via iPeer. See the assignments page for more information.

    No special accommodations will be made for students who miss or otherwise don’t contribute to the group work on the assignment, even if there is a valid reason for missing (underperforming on) an assignment. However, one assignment with the worst mark will NOT be used for calculating the assignment portion of final grade for each student. This arrangement provides a safety net for students who experience unexpected hardship during the term.

  1. Lab sessions

    Lab sessions are for the students (1) to learn in more details some of the material by tackling in-class assignments, (2) to ask one of the TAs clarification questions about take-home assignments and term projects, and (3) to meet their term project team and discuss project ideas/methodology with the team and the class (through short in-lab presentations). See the course session calendar for lab times. Attendance is mandatory for lab sessions, as there will be in-class assignments.

  2. Presentation of the term projects (mini-conference)

    Each group will present their term project to the rest of the class during a mini-conference at the end of the course.

  3. Quizzes

    In-class quizzes: There will be quizzes in most (if not all) class sessions. Quizzes will test your knowledge of the study material. In-class quizzes will be given during the first 10 minutes of the class. As such, students who start the quiz late, will have whatever time left before the quiz gets unpublished 10 minutes after the start. This policy aims to avoid situations when a student starts their quiz when almost everyone else has finished the quiz and now the whole class has to wait for that late student.

    To do in-class quizzes, each student will need to have a laptop and be logged into the course on Canvas. It’s the responsibility of each student to be ready for the quiz at the beginning of each class.

    Entrance Quiz:
    This quiz will be given on Canvas during the second session of the course. It’ll help students to assess their own skills and required knowledge in relation to the expectations for the course. The quiz tests (1) students’ knowledge that they are expected to learn in prerequisite courses, and (2) their ability to study course material provided in the flipped classroom format. Those students who score 65% or more on the quiz, will receive full credit for the quiz. Other students will receive no credit for the quiz.

  4. Midterm and Final Examinations

    There will be one mid-term and one final open-book examinations. See the course session calendar for the mid-term examination date. The date of the final examination will be set and announced by the UBC services. It’s the student’s responsibility to know the date, time, and location of the final examination.

  5. Sessions

    When: Tuesday and Thursday, from 12:30 PM to 1:50 PM; September 8 to December 6, 2022.
    Where: see the course entry in the UBC Course Schedule.

    Attendance is mandatory and might be recorded. If a student has to miss a class must submit this academic concession form at their soonest convenience. It is the responsibility of each student to be aware of any announcements made during missed sessions and to know the material discussed at the sessions.

    Sessions will be in flipped classroom format and will involve mostly group activities focused on problem solving. Slides used by the teaching staff during the class sessions will be posted on Canvas or the course session calendar in 5 business days.

  6. In-Class Participation

    Participation during course sessions will be in groups. Students will be assigned randomly to groups at the beginning of each class. All groups will be working on the same practice problems or questions. For each practice problem/question, after the time is up, a particular group and a particular student from that group will be chosen randomly. The chosen student will present, on behalf of the group, their solution to the problem or answer to the question. All students from that group (except for the absent ones) will receive the same participation mark. Absent students from the chosen group will receive 0. Course participation mark of each student will be averaged over all  participation marks that student receives during the term.

  7. Self-Study Before and After the Class Sessions

    Each student is expected to study all required material for each class. The study of all the required material should be guided by learning objectives for each study module. There will be also optional and bonus study material for some sessions, which will help you to gain deeper and/or broader understanding of a particular topic.

Grading

Grading will be done according to the following break-down:

Module
Grade %
Entrance Quiz (5 points will be given only to those who get 65% or more on this quiz, the rest will get 0). 5
In-class participation
10
In-class quizzes
8
Mid-term examination 7
Final examination
16
Term project proposal presentation & write-up (G)*
4
Term project presentation at the mini-conference (G)
7
Term project report (G)

Pre-final draft of the report, which contains all parts of the report required, according to the project type.

7

Final report (all the sections, according to the project type)

14
Project video clip (G) 4
Homework assignments (both in and outside of the lab) (G)
18

* group elements of the final mark are indicated with (G)

If the mean final mark for the cohort is less than 75%, the final mark of each student in the cohort will be pro-rated so that the mean final mark will be 75%.

Students in those term project groups that win best and second-best prizes for their work on the projects (see mini-conference page for the details) will receive bonus marks.

Grading of Group Work

Individual marks for group work (e.g., group homework assignments, project proposals, project presentations, and project reports) is based on the group mark G (given by the teaching staff) and the teammates’ evaluations of individual student’s contribution (given by the team mates). Teammates’ evaluations are provided through iPeer. The course calendar lists deadlines for submitting these evaluations. These deadlines are usually few hours after the submission deadline.

Based on the teammates’ evaluations of individual student’s contributions, each student S gets such a contribution coefficient Cs that  (C1+C2+C3+C4)/4 == 1. The individual mark of student s is Is == G*Cs. Therefore, if no student from the team has submitted an evaluation on iPeer, each student gets mark Is==G.

Late submissions of the evaluations on iPeer are not accepted. If a student did not submit their evaluations of the teammates, individual marks of each student in the corresponding team are calculated as if that student assessed equally the contributions of their teammates.

Course Content

For the list of topics to be covered in the course and their schedule, see the course session calendar.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, students are expected to get a solid orientation in the subject of cyber security and privacy. For details, see the learning objectives of each study material module.

Study Materials

All study materials can be purchased in (online and offline) bookstores.

  1. Mark Stamp, Information Security : Principles and Practice, Third Edition, Wiley-Interscience, 2021. This textbook might also become available online through UBC Library (CWL is required).
    Feel free to supplement your study of this textbook with watching the videos of author’s lectures closely based on the textbook.
  2. (recommended) Anderson, Ross. Security Engineering — A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems. John Wiley & Sons, 2020, Third Edition. See free chapters from this book online. UBC Library also has a PDF version of the book.
  3. (Some of the assigned required reading will be from this book) Paul C. van Oorschot, Computer Security and the Internet: Tools and Jewels, 2021, Springer. See free chapters from this book online.
  4. (Recommended for the classes on Bitcoin Case Study) Narayanan, Arvind, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller, and Steven Goldfeder. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies: a comprehensive introduction. Princeton University Press, 2016.

Course Policies

Quizzes Policy

  1. All quizzes are open-book and must be taken in the class. Each student is required to have a laptop or some other devices suitable for taking a quiz via Canvas.
  2. In-class quizzes will be given during the first 10 minutes of the class. As such, students who start the quiz late, will have whatever time left before the quiz gets unpublished 10 minutes after the start. This policy aims to to avoid situations when a student starts their quiz when almost everyone else has finished the quiz, and now the whole class has to wait for that late student.
  3. No make-up quizzes will be given, irrespectively of the reason for missing the quiz. Instead, each student will get up to 20% extra of the quiz mark for the final mark in the course.
  4. Those students who score 65% or more on the Entrance Quiz, will receive full credit for the quiz. Other students will receive no credit for the Entrance Quiz.

Assignments Policy

  1. No make-up assignments will be given for those who missed them, irrespectively of the reason for missing the assignment.

Late Submission Policies

Unless specified otherwise, late submissions of assignments, proposals, reports and other work are accepted and the following penalty scheme is applied to late submissions, irrespectively of the reason for the late submission: The mark for a late submission is reduced by 5% for each late hour or any portion of it. ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS WHATSOEVER!

Examples:

  • a work submitted 1m late will get mark of 95%, at most.
  • a work submitted 1h15m late will get mark of 90%, at most.
  • a work submitted 9h1m late will get mark of 50%, at most.
  • a work submitted 15h5m late will get mark of 10%, at most.

Examinations Policies

  1. Both mid-term and final examinations are open-book.
  2. No make-up mid-term exam will be given, irrespectively of the reason for missing the exam.
  3. If a student misses the mid-term examination, their mid-term mark will be the same (percentage wise) as their final examination mark.
  4. If a student misses the final examination, their final exam mark will be 0 and they will fail the course, unless UBC Administration grants this student deferred examination option.

In Term Concessions

Students who miss in-term work for this course and are requesting academic concession must submit this concession form at their soonest convenience.

How in term concessions will be handled:

  • No special accommodations will be made for students who miss or otherwise don’t contribute to the group work on the assignment. However, one assignment with the worst mark will NOT be used for calculating the assignment portion of final grade for each student.
  • No make-up in-class quizzes will be given, irrespectively of the reason for missing the quiz. Instead, each student will get up to 20% extra of the quiz mark for the final mark in the course. No concession will be offered on the Entry Quiz.
  • If a student misses the mid-term examination, their mid-term mark will be the same (percentage wise) as their final examination mark.
  • If a student misses final examination, their final exam mark will be 0 and they will fail the course, unless UBC Administration grants this student deferred examination option.
  • If a student misses a class session, in which their assigned group is chosen to present, the student must submit the above concession form, in order to avoid receiving 0 for that presentation.

Academic Integrity

All students are expected to engage in all course activities within the norms of academic integrity. It is the responsibility of each student to know about academic integrity and plagiarism by studying materials of the UBC’s Academic Integrity Resource Centre and to practice academic integrity. A description of disciplinary measures for academic misconduct can be found here.

The teaching staff reserves the right to check for academic integrity, using such services as turnitin, any submitted written work by any student.

University Policies

UBC provides resources to support student learning and to maintain healthy lifestyles but recognizes that sometimes crises arise and so there are additional resources to access including those for survivors of sexual violence. UBC values respect for the person and ideas of all members of the academic community. Harassment and discrimination are not tolerated nor is suppression of academic freedom. UBC provides appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities and for religious, spiritual and cultural observances. UBC values academic honesty and students are expected to acknowledge the ideas generated by others and to uphold the highest academic standards in all of their actions. Details of the policies and how to access support are available here.

Statement From UBC Provost About Academic Freedom and Online Course Offerings

During this pandemic, the shift to online learning has greatly altered teaching and studying at UBC, including changes to health and safety considerations. Keep in mind that some UBC courses might cover topics that are censored or considered illegal by non-Canadian governments. This may include, but is not limited to, human rights, representative government, defamation, obscenity, gender or sexuality, and historical or current geopolitical controversies. If you are a student living abroad, you will be subject to the laws of your local jurisdiction, and your local authorities might limit your access to course material or take punitive action against you. UBC is strongly committed to academic freedom, but has no control over foreign authorities (please read an articulation of the values of the University conveyed in the Senate Statement on Academic Freedom). Thus, we recognize that students will have a legitimate reason to exercise caution in studying certain subjects. If you have concerns regarding your personal situation, consider postponing taking a course with manifest risks, until you are back on campus or reach out to your academic advisor to find substitute courses. For further information and support, please read UBC position on the Freedom of Expression.