Cyber Defense

EECS 465, Spring 2021

Course Details

Lectures Organized in a hybrid format with online and on-campus lectures (see Tentative Roadmap)
On-campus lectures: Tuesday & Thursday 5:30pm - 6:45pm, 2002 Eaton Hall as detailed in the Tentative Roadmap
IMPORTANT! First on-campus lectures are scheduled on February 16 and February 18
Instructor Alex Bardas
Office Hours: Over Zoom every Tuesday 2:00pm - 3:00pm & Thursday 3:30pm - 4:30pm, and by email appointment
Zoom meeting details
For scheduling an in-person meeting please send me an email.
: alexbardas ku edu
Grader/Teaching Assistant Dalton Hahn
Office Hours: Over Zoom every Monday 1:30pm - 2:30pm and by email appointment
Zoom meeting details
: daltonhahn ku edu


Check the "Syllabus" section on a regular basis since its content is subject to change throughout the semester.

Course Description

This course is focused on teaching KU students the critical knowledge and skills needed to administer and defend computer networks and systems. Lectures will mainly gravitate around hands-on activities and getting familiar with the current cybersecurity landscape.


(Optional) Charles P. Pfleeger, Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, and Jonathan Margulies. 2015. Security in Computing (5th Edition). Prentice Hall Press, Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA Other reading materials will be provided by the instructor.

Course Outcomes

This course has the following goals:

  1. Examining real software applications, operating systems, databases, and network systems using existing software tools to identify security threats, vulnerabilities, and employ remediation approaches.
  2. Understanding in a practical setting basic cybersecurity concepts such as reconnaissance, penetration testing, persistent access, etc.
  3. Understanding the behavior of software (and sometimes hardware) tools used for reconnaissance, penetration testing, and remediation.
  4. Analyzing social engineering through the capabilities available in existing software toolkits.

Important Dates

See the KU Registrar for important dates involving enrollment, add/drop, and refund information.

General Course Information

Online online: Recorded lectures will be made available on the this course webpage under the Schedule section. The recordings can be watched through the web browser or downloaded on your devices. While this asynchronous format will give you more flexibility, it is highly recommended to keep up with the class schedule and always watch the lectures in a timely manner. Office hours will be held over Zoom. However, you can schedule in-person (on-campus) meetings with the instructor. Please see the Tentative Roadmap for a tentative weekly split of on-campus and online lectures. More details are available in Lecture 1 under the Schedule section.

On-campus on-campus: On-campus lectures will be held in 2002 Eaton Hall at the regular class time. Please show up with your designated section/lecture. A tentative weekly split of on-campus and online lectures is available under Tentative Roadmap. See Lecture 1 under the Schedule section for more details.

Discussion Sessions: The instructor may offer optional discussion sessions throughout the semester at the regular class time over Zoom. More details are available in Lecture 1 under the Schedule section.

Announcements: You are responsible for all announcements we make in the recorded lectures and in class, such as information about exams, quizzes, homeworks, changes in the syllabus, etc.

Assignment (Homework and Reports) Submission: Usually assignments are due at 11:59PM Central Time via Blackboard (unless otherwise specified) according to the date posted in the assignment. In general, expect a 20% per day penalty for late submissions. One minute or 23 hours still count as a whole late day. Each calendar day counts as a late day. In case a solution will be made available by the instructor, late submissions will no longer be accepted.

Academic Integrity - Addressing Cheating and Plagiarism

Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and will be treated severely whenever found. Unless an assignment explicitly states otherwise, all work submitted for credit must be the student's own and is subject to the provisions of the University of Kansas policies. Sharing your work or copying is cheating, and submitting a work that is not all yours is also considered cheating. Any cheating activities will result in an F for the course for all parties involved. Reports of such detected academic misconduct will also be made to your major department, school/college, and university, which oftentimes will result in more serious sanctions. Students should review the university policy on academic conduct. "Academic integrity is a central value in higher education. It rests on two principles: first, that academic work is represented truthfully as to its source and its accuracy, and second, that academic results are obtained by fair and authorized means. Academic misconduct occurs when these values are not respected. Academic misconduct at KU is defined in the University Senate Rules and Regulations." -- KU Student Affairs
From Section 2.6.1 of the University Senate Rules and Regulations: Academic misconduct by a student shall include, but not be limited to, disruption of classes; threatening an instructor or fellow students in an academic setting, giving or receiving of unauthorized aid on examinations or in the preparation of notebooks, themes, reports or other assignments; knowingly misrepresenting the source of any academic work; unauthorized change of grades; unauthorized use of University approvals or forging of signatures; falsification of research results, plagiarizing of another’s work; violation of regulations or ethical codes for the treatment of human and animal subjects; or otherwise acting dishonestly in research.

Citing Sources: If you use any code, such as a library or an existing codebase, you must cite it. Not doing so is considered plagiarism and cheating. If in doubt, please ask.


Points Distribution

Pre-Demo Quizzes 25%
Final exam 25%
Assignments (Homework and Reports)
Each assignment has the same weight
Grading scheme. (The instructor also intends to curve raw scores at the end of the semester)
A 90% +
A- 88% - 89%
B+ 86% - 87%
B 80% - 85%
B- 78% - 79%
C+ 76% - 77%
C 70% - 75%
C- 68% - 69%
D+ 66% - 67%
D 60% - 65%
D- 50% - 59%
F   0% - 49%

Appeals: Should you wish to appeal a grade that you have received, you must do so within one week of receiving the graded item.

Grade Responsibilities: This course uses Blackboard mainly for the pre-demo quizzes, the final exam, and generally for storing and displaying the grades. When explicitly directed by the instructor or grader/TA, Blackboard will be used for uploading your completed assignments. If you have not received a grade you were expecting it is your responsibility to email your instructor no later than 2 weeks past the due date of the grade in question.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The Academic Achievement & Access Center (AAAC) coordinates academic accommodations and services for all eligible KU students with disabilities. If you have a disability for which you wish to request accommodations and have not contacted the AAAC, please do so as soon as possible. They are located in 22 Strong Hall and can be reached at 785-864-4064 (V/TTY). More information can be found on the Student Access Services website. Please contact the instructor privately in regard to your needs in this course.

Expectation of Classroom Conduct

The instructor, Alexandru G. Bardas, considers this classroom (including the discussions over Zoom) to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. Activities within the University of Kansas community, including this course, are governed by the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. It is the instructor's expectation that all students experience this classroom as a safe environment. Given the unprecedented circumstances we are operating under, please follow KU's COVID-19 Information webpage for the latest updates and directives.

Wearing Masks. To protect all of us, everyone must wear a mask in the classroom as required by the Protect KU Pledge and by University policy. Violations of the mask policy in classrooms are treated as academic misconduct. If you come to class without a mask, I will ask you to put one on. If you do not put on a mask when asked, you will have to leave class. Violations will be reported, and consequences will follow, up to and including suspension from the course.

Concealed Carry. Individuals who choose to carry concealed handguns are solely responsible to do so in a safe and secure manner in strict conformity with state and federal laws and with KU's policy on weapons. Safety measures outlined in the KU weapons policy specify that a concealed handgun:

Notice of Copyright and Commercial Note-taking

All lectures and course materials carry a copyright of Alexandru G. Bardas and other authors. Pursuant to the University of Kansas’ Policy on Commercial Note-Taking Ventures, commercial note-taking is not permitted in EECS 465 - Cyber Defense (Spring 2021). Lecture notes and course materials may be taken for personal use, for the purpose of mastering the course material, and may not be sold to any person or entity in any form. Any student engaged in or contributing to the commercial exchange of notes or course materials (such as recorded lecture videos and slides) will be subject to discipline, including academic misconduct charges, in accordance with University policy. Please note: note-taking provided by a student volunteer for a student with a disability, as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, is not the same as commercial note-taking and is not covered under this policy.


NOTE: Schedules are tentative and subject to change.

Course Schedule

Updated on a regular basis. Use your KU Online ID (all numeric is not correct) and password to access the slides and other materials.

Feb 2, 2021
Lecture 1 Introduction and Undergraduate Cybersecurity Certificate video, intro-slides, cert-slides
Feb 4, 2021
Lecture 2

Networking Terminology and Quizzes, Assignments, & Final Exam

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 11 and Chapter 6: Section 6.1
video, slides-networking, slides-q&a
Feb 9, 2021
Lecture 3 Reconnaissance (Part 1) video, slides
Feb 11, 2021
Homework 1
(Lecture 4)

Reconnaissance (Part 2) and Homework 1 Background
Pre-demo Quiz 1 is available on Blackboard (due February 16 at noon CT)

Supplemental readings:

  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 5: Section 5.1 (Virtualization) and Chapter 6: Section 6.2 (Port Scanning)
video, slides, hw1
Feb 16, 2021
Lecture 5

Clonezilla Demo and Reconnaissance Demo (only class #55022)

This on-campus lecture and office hours are cancelled due to inclement weather and the rolling blackouts in the Lawrence area. See here for the latest updates. The lecture will be moved to Tuesday, Feb 23. More details will follow.
Feb 18, 2021
Lecture 6

Clonezilla Demo and Reconnaissance Demo (only class #58733)

Due to the rolling blackouts in the Lawrence area and KU campuses being closed on Tuesday (2/16), the deadline for Homework 1 (HW1) has been extended to Sunday, February 28th.
Feb 23, 2021
Lecture 7

Clonezilla Demo and Reconnaissance Demo (only class #55022)

First in-class lectures (Lectures 6 and 7) recap: video, sql-intro, dvwa-demo-queries.
Feb 25, 2021
(Lecture 8)

Exploiting Vulnerabilities, Metasploit Overview, and Password Cracking (Part 1)

Optional: Join the live discussion session at 5:30PM CT over Zoom to ask questions about Homework 1 (HW1) and/or other course materials.

Supplemental readings:
video-1, video-2, slides-1, slides-2
Mar 2, 2021
Lecture 9

Password Cracking (Part 2)

Homework 1 feedback: video
Extra credit opportunity: video

Supplemental readings:
video, slides
Mar 4, 2021
Report 1
(Lecture 10)

Firewalls, Report 1 Overview

report1, firewalls-video, firewalls-slides
Mar 9, 2021
Lecture 11

Metasploit, OpenVAS Activities, and Password Cracking (only class #55022)

Mar 11, 2021
Lecture 12

Metasploit, OpenVAS Activities, and Password Cracking (only class #58733)

Second in-class lectures (Lectures 11 and 12) recap: video
Mar 16, 2021
Lecture 13

Sniffing Network Traffic

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C.P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 6.1
video, slides
Mar 18, 2021
Homework 2
(Lecture 14)

Interacting with Network Traffic

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C.P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 6.2
hw2, video, slides
Mar 23, 2021
Lecture 15

Denial of Service (Part 1)

Report 1 feedback: video
video, slides
Mar 25, 2021
Lecture 16

Denial of Service (Part 2)

video, slides
Mar 30, 2021
Homework 3
(Lecture 17)

Interacting with Network Traffic and DoS/DDoS Activities (only class #55022)

Apr 1, 2021
Homework 3
(Lecture 18)

Interacting with Network Traffic and DoS/DDoS Activities (only class #58733)

No in-class lecture today, it will be moved to a later date (please see instructor's email)

Third in-class lectures (Lecture 17) recap: video
Apr 6, 2021
Lecture 19

Wireless Network Cracking - WEP
WEP instructions handout: wep-hand-out

Homework 2 feedback: video
video, slides
Apr 8, 2021
Lecture 20

Wireless Network Cracking - WPA

WPA/WPA2 instructions handout: wpa-wpa2-hand-out

In-class lecture from April 1st for class #58733 (Thursday section) has been moved to April 22nd

video, slides
Apr 13, 2021
Lecture 21

Logging and Auditing

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 5: Section 5.3
video, slides
Apr 15, 2021
Lecture 22

Introduction to Security Onion

video, slides
Apr 20, 2021
Report 2
(Lecture 23)

Plan for the Remainder of the Semester

report2, video
Apr 22, 2021
Lecture 24

Trends and Research in Cyber Security

on-campus Make-up lecture: In-class lecture today only for class #58733 (Thursday section)

Homework 3 feedback: video
video, slides
Apr 27, 2021
Lecture 25

Wireless Network Activity (only class #55022)

Apr 29, 2021
Lecture 26

Wireless Network Activity (only class #58733)

Fourth in-class lectures (Lectures 25 and 26) recap: video
May 4, 2021
Lecture 27

Final Exam Review

video, slides
May 6, 2021
Lecture 28

Q&A Session

May 11, 2021
Final Exam

Take-home exam


Extra Credit

You can earn an extra 5% on your final grade by identifying, reading, and summarizing 5 conference articles from the following venues: IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (S&P), ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), USENIX Security, Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS). Only these four conferences (from 2011 to 2021) will be accepted. Partial credit will also be awarded for less than 5 articles.


Articles serving as class reading materials (i.e., posted in the course schedule) can NOT be used for extra credit.

Note! If you are not sure whether an article is appropriate for earning extra credit, write a few lines about why you think the article is related to the material covered in class and feel free to contact the instructor.

Note! You can access directly IEEE and ACM articles for free if you are connected to KU's network (e.g., wireless JAYHAWK network). You can also use the following links (especially when you are off-campus): ACM-Digital-Library, IEEE-Xplore. Other societies such as USENIX may have all materials available for free from any network.

Important! Besides the instructor's and the grader's/TA's assessments, your summaries will be ran through software applications (Blackboard's SafeAssign and one other application) for identifying plagiarism. Read the articles, write your own summaries, and you will be rewarded.

Tentative Roadmap

Week Week of Topic(s) Notes
1 2/1 Introduction and networking primer — format: online
2 2/8 Reconnaissance and Introduction to SQL Injections — format: online Assigning Homework 1
3 2/15 Clonezilla Demo and Reconnaissance Demo — format: On-campus (2002 Eaton Hall) online
4 2/22 Vulnerability Scanners, Metasploit, and Password Cracking (Part 1) — format: online
5 3/1 Password Cracking (Part 2), Firewalls, and Network Threats & Defenses — format: online Assigning Report 1
6 3/8 Metasploit and OpenVAS Activities — format: On-campus (2002 Eaton Hall) online
7 3/15 Sniffing and Interacting with Network Traffic — format: online Assigning Homework 2
8 3/22 DoS and DDoS attacks — format: online
9 3/29 Interacting with Network Traffic and DoS/DDoS Activities — format: On-campus (2002 Eaton Hall) online Assigning Homework 3
10 4/5 Wireless Network Cracking — format: online
11 4/12 Logging & Auditing and Introduction to Security Onion — format: online
12 4/19 Trends and Research in Cyber Security — format: online Assigning Report 2
13 4/26 Wireless Network Cracking Activity — format: On-campus (2002 Eaton Hall) online
14 5/3 Final exam review — format: online
15 5/10 Finals week — format: online