Research Topics in Computer Security

COMP 790 – 149 – Fall 2023

Instructor: Andrew Kwong
Class Meetings: Mon/Wed 11:00-12:15PM, FB007
Office Hours By Appointment, in FB340

The goal of this course is to give students a broad overview of research topics in the field of computer security. This involves reading and discussing both foundational and recent papers, and conducting a course research project.

Course Structure

Grades will be based upon the following:

Class Participation (20%)

Students are expected to contribute to class discussions following paper presentations. Students should be able to ask insightful questions and demonstrate that they have read and understand the assigned readings.

Paper Presentations (30%)

Students will give conference style talks on assigned papers. They will prepare slides and a 15 minute presentation on the papers.

Course Project (50%)

Students will conduct original research on a topic related to computer security over the course of the semester. Students will propose a project part-way through the class, and will submit a final report (6-12 pages) by the end of the course. Students will also give a conference style talk on their results during the final week of class. Working in groups is allowed, but a more substantial product is expected when working as a group.

Reading List


Monday, August 21 — Welcome/Course Overview


Wednesday, August 23 — Instructor Presents


Binary Exploitation

Monday, August 28 — Stack Smashing

Wednesday, August 30 — Advanced Pwning

Nation State Attacks

Monday, September 4

No Class.

Wednesday, September 6 — Russia


Monday, September 11

Wednesday, September 13

Cyber-Physical Systems

Monday, September 18 — Automotive Security

Wednesday, September 20

Web Security

Monday, September 25

No Class.

Wednesday, September 27 — Sandboxing


Monday, October 2 — Rowhammer

Wednesday, October 4 — Disturbance Effects/Forensics

Course Project Proposal Presentations

Monday, October 9

— Proposal Presentations

Wednesday, October 11

— Proposal Presentations Continued

Machine Learning

Monday, October 16

Wednesday, October 18


Monday, October 23 — Botnets

Wednesday, October 25 — Spam

Crypto Fails/Privacy

Monday, October 30 — Real World Cryptography

Wednesday, November 1 — Privacy

Human Factors

Monday, November 6 — Usability

Wednesday, November 8 — Passwords


Monday, November 13 — Anonymous Browsing

Wednesday, November 15 — Web/Device Tracking

Network Security

Monday, November 20

Wednesday, November 22

No Class.

Course Project Presentations

Monday, November 27

— Final Presentations

Wednesday, November 29

— Final Presentations

Course Project Presentations continued

Monday, December 4

— Final Presentations

Wednesday, December 6

— Final Presentations