Course Title and Description
CPEN 542, “Cybersecurity,” is a graduate 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 cyber systems and infrastructures 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.
Teaching Staff and Office Hours
Aleksandr Volosiuk, Ph.D. candidate: no office hours.
Announcements: Most of announcements are made during class sessions. It’s responsibility of each student to be aware of the announcements, even if they miss the class for any reason. On rare occasions, announcements will be made on Canvas.
Online Discussions: The students are welcome to use Canvas for online discussions among themselves. The teaching staff neither monitor these discussions or participate in them.
Contacting Teaching Staff
- All course-related questions relevant to most students in the course should be asked during the class.
- Course-related questions relevant to individual students can be asked during instructor’s office hours (see the course session calendar) or right after the class.
- Time-sensitive questions can be directed to the teaching assistant(s) via a direct message (i.e., not in Discussions) on Canvas. Make sure to choose “All Teaching Assistants” as the recipient of your message. If the teaching assistant(s) finds it necessary to involve the course instructor, they will forward the message to him. Teaching staff will do their best to reply to direct messages no later than one working day after receiving them.
Course Structure, Activities, and Assessment
In order to pass the course, each student must complete the following modules:
1. Term Paper
Students are responsible for a final paper. You should work individually or in groups. The maximum size of term paper groups will be announced by the instructor. Students form groups by themselves.
The nature and the topic of the paper is your choice, as long as it relates to cyber security and privacy, interpreted broadly.
Your group will need to present the project proposal and submit a short proposal (please see the Canvas site of the course for exact deadline information). It is highly advisable to get going early; we will gladly accept proposals before the deadline. This assignment gives the instructor a chance to review and approve your term paper proposal, and to suggest references that you may have overlooked.
We also encourage you to discuss with the course instructor during their office hours what you want to do for the paper. See the course calendar for the deadline for such a meeting.
2. Presentation of the Term Paper
Term papers will be presented at the end of the term. One whole day will be devoted to short presentations of each term paper (see the course calendar for the date).
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 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. Students are required to take in-class quizzes while being present in the examination room, unless they received a written exemption from the course instructor.
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 assesses (1) students’ background that they are expected to have from prior education training, and (2) their ability to study course material. 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. Mid-Term and Final Examinations
There will be one mid-term and one final open-book examinations. Each exam is cumulative, i.e., on the material studied from the start of the course to the date of the exam. 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.
Mid-term exam is optional and the final exam is mandatory. If a student doesn’t take the mid-term exam, their mark for it will be the same (percentage wise) as for the final exam.
Students are required to take mid-term and final examinations while being present in the examination room, unless they received a written exemption from the course instructor.
5. In-class Sessions
When: Tuesday and Thursday, from 10:00 AM to 11:20 AM; September 7 to December 6, 2023.
Where: see the course entry in the UBC Course Schedule.
Attendance is mandatory. If a student has to miss a class, they must submit an 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 the application of the studied material via 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 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.
|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 quizzes on Canvas||10|
|Mid-term examination (optional)||10|
|Term Paper (40%) (done in groups)|
Term paper proposal presentation & write-up
Term paper presentation
Term Paper Pre-final draft (optional)
|Term Paper Final version (all the sections)||19|
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%.
Grading of Group Work on Term Papers
For teams of 1 or 2 students, each student will get the same individual mark as the group mark. For teams of 3 or more students, the contribution of each student to the term paper, its proposal, and presentation will be evaluated by the other team members, and prorated accordingly to the scores given by the other teammates.
Individual marks for group work (e.g., term papers, their proposals and presentations) 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 Canvas site 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 contribution, 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.
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. Therefore, if no student from the team has submitted an evaluation on iPeer, each student gets mark Is==G.
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 oriented in the subject of cyber security and privacy. For details, see the learning objectives of each study material module.
All study materials can be purchased in (online and offline) bookstores.
- 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.
- (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.
- (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.
- (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.
- 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.
- In-class quizzes will be given during the first or last 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Late Submission Policy
Unless specified otherwise, late submissions of 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!
- 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 17h5m late will get mark of 10%, at most.
- Both mid-term and final examinations are open-book.
- No make-up mid-term exam will be given, irrespectively of the reason for missing the exam.
- 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 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.
The University is committed to supporting students in their academic pursuits. Students may request academic concession in circumstances that may adversely affect their attendance or performance in a course or program. Students who intend to, or who as a result of circumstance must, request academic concession are required to submit online an academic concession form by following these instructions.
Students seeking academic concession due to absence from the final exam for any reason must apply to Engineering Academic Services (EAS) within 72 hours of the missed exam by following these instructions. This is a standard practice for all final examinations at UBC.
How in term concessions will be handled:
- 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 an in-class session, in which their assigned group is chosen to present, the student must submit the above concession form before the session, in order to avoid receiving 0 for that presentation.
Summary of UBC Policy on Academic Integrity:
The academic enterprise is founded on honesty, civility, and integrity. As members of this enterprise, all students are expected to know, understand, and follow the UBC codes of conduct regarding academic integrity. At the most basic level, this means submitting only original work done by you and acknowledging all sources of information or ideas and attributing them to others as required. This also means you should not cheat, copy, or mislead others about what is your work. Violations of academic integrity (i.e., misconduct) lead to the breakdown of the academic enterprise, and therefore serious consequences arise and harsh sanctions are imposed. For example, incidents of plagiarism or cheating may result in a mark of zero on an assignment or exam and more serious consequences may apply if the matter is referred to the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline. Careful records are kept in order to monitor and prevent recurrences.
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. For more information, see:
The teaching staff reserves the right to check for academic integrity, using such services as turnitin, any submitted written work by any student.
Health and Wellness
UBC provides resources to support student learning and to maintain healthy lifestyles, while recognizing that challenges and crises can arise for students. There are resources in ECE and at UBC where students can find can help and support, including wellness, equity, inclusion and indigeneity, resources for survivors of sexual violence, and health. Some frequently used resources are as follows:
- ECE Wellness Hub
- ECE has an EDI.I committee whose goals are to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in the ECE Department, and support the UBC Indigenous Strategic Plan. The committee welcomes feedback from all students, and can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Central resource for supporting student success (medical and crisis support, Centre for Accessibility, and support for survivors of sexual violence):
- UBC Office of the Ombudsperson for Students
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. Details of UBC’s respectful environment policies, which all students, staff and faculty are expected to follow.