CSE 5479: System Security



General Course Info

            Term: Autumn 2019 (Aug 20, 2019 – Dec 4, 2019)

            Time: Monday 11:30-13:35

           Location: Caldwell Laboratory 0133 (CL0133)

          Web page: http://web.cse.ohio-state.edu/~yinqian/courses/cse5479/index.html




Instructor Info

            Instructor: Prof. Yinqian Zhang

            Office: DL798

            Email: yinqian@cse.ohio-state.edu

            Homepage: http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~yinqian

            Office Hours: by appointment




Course Description

System security deals with the security of computing systems and infrastructures, which includes but not limited to the confinement of untrusted applications, the protection against physical and software adversaries, the isolation and access control of security-critical system resources, etc. In this research seminar course, we will explore the security concepts, mechanisms, and issues of a variety of computing systems, including operating systems and virtual machines, Android/iOS and browsers, trusted and confidential computing platforms (e.g., Intel SGX and AMD SEV), decentralized applications (e.g., blockchains, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency), etc. Example topics include “What computer architectural mechanisms enable the confinement of applications or virtual machines?”, “Could malicious website damage your browsers and operating systems?”, “What are Spectre and Meltdown attacks?”, “How could smart contracts run on blockchain securely?”.


There will be NO regular written homework, mid-term exams or final exams for this course. But there will be a semester-long course project for each student. Topics and scopes of the projects will be selected by students (after discussion with the instructor) at the beginning of the course. Class meetings will be a mix of lectures by the instructor and presentations by the students. Each student will be expected to present one or a few research papers selected from top-tier security conferences such as IEEE S&P, ACM CCS, USENIX Security, NDSS.





There is no formal pre-requisite for this class. However, students without undergraduate-level knowledge of operating systems and computer networking should discuss with the instructor.



There is no required textbook for this course. Papers and reading materials will be specified before classes, and will be available for downloading online.



Presentation and class participation: 50%

Final projects: 50%