I am offering an online cybersecurity elective to MSSE second-year students for 2022: SENG 5271. It uses my Cybersecurity in the Cloud specialization offered on Coursera, plus readings and labs from my textbook Elementary Information Security. The course and textbook focus on how technical measures relate to more abstract business and safety goals. We cover a lot about authentication, cryptography, and access controls. You may want to watch examples of the course videos posted online at Vimeo to see what I mean.
We focus on the practical engineering aspects, not the math. The math occasionally rears its ugly head, but it’s limited to grade school algebra and set theory, salted with simple concepts from probability.
I generally avoid doing lectures during class time, putting lectures online instead. Class time is spent in lab sessions: they last 60-90 minutes and are graded. This year they were graded pass-fail, though I can’t guarantee doing that with a larger class. If the class is too large for one lab session, I’ll split the class into two groups and spend half of the class time with each group. I enjoy hands-on (though remote) work with the individual students.
The online Coursera specialization consists of 16 modules divided into 4 courses. For the semester we complete 1 to 2 modules per week, usually only one. A typical module contains an hour of video lecture and demonstration, and one to three hours of assessments: quizzes and peer-reviewed research assignments. I encourage students to pick different topics for the peer-reviewed assignments to reduce the potential boredom of reviewing each other’s work. And, if you think it’s boring to read about cyberattacks, why would you take a cybersecurity course?
|Saturday||1||1||1||Attack Surface, Svc Outline||Google drive access ctl|
|Friday||2||1||2||Net Security Architecture||crypto basics, nmap|
|Saturday||3||1||3||Net Crypto, CVSS||Public-key encryption|
|Friday||4||1||4||Cloud Arch, Virtualization||Server Certificates|
|Saturday||5||2||1||Databases, States||SOC 2-3, Breach Research|
|Friday||6||2||2||SQL, Data Breaches||Data Breach Review|
|Saturday||7||2||3||Vendor Data Services||Services Review|
|Friday||8||2||4||Data Privacy||DNS research|
|Saturday||9||3||1,2||App Arch & Authentication||Hash cracking, entropy|
|Saturday||11||Spring Break||NO CLASS|
|Friday||12||3||4||Scripts||Script based attacks|
|Saturday||13||4||1||Top Ten, Risk #1||Injection Demos|
|Friday||14||4||2||Risks #2, 3, 4||Vulnerability scanning|
|Saturday||16||4||3, 4||Risks #5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10||Discussion|
Depending on pandemic restrictions and class interest, we might substitute one or more in-person labs at the University for those listed above.
Here are links to the four Coursera courses in the specialization:
I also posted draft videos from the first course on Vimeo, if you want to view examples of online course videos.
During SENG 5271, students participate in a “private session” of each Coursera course. If you want to see all of the course materials, you need to register for the course. Use any “try for free” feature Coursera provides, or a membership if you have one. If you register in a public Coursera session and complete graded assessments, however, grades might not carry over to your SENG 5271 grade. Quiz grades might carry over, but the peer reviewed assignment grades will not.