Cyber Defense

EECS 465, Fall 2021

Course Details

Lectures Tuesday & Thursday 4:00pm - 5:15pm, 2002 Eaton Hall
Instructor Alex Bardas
Office: 2040 Eaton Hall
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 2:30pm - 3:30pm, and by email appointment
Email appointment is needed to schedule a meeting over Zoom: meeting details
: alexbardas ku edu
Grader/Teaching Assistant Dalton Brucker-Hahn
Office: 2002 Eaton Hall
Office Hours: Monday 12:00pm - 1:00pm, and by email appointment
Email appointment is needed to schedule a meeting over 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

Announcements: You are responsible for all announcements we make in class, such as information about assignments, 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.

Attendance: The knowledge and skills you will gain in this course highly depend on your participation in class learning activities. Because of that, I expect you to attend all class sessions unless you are ill or have a valid reason for missing. If you face challenges to fully participating in class due to illness, please let me know, and please contact me if you expect to miss class. We are here to support your success.

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 student 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 existing codebase, you must cite it. Not doing so is considered plagiarism and cheating.

Using EdTech Services: The use of EdTech services (e.g., for posting or downloading material for the preparation and/or submission of exams, HW, lab reports, etc., constitutes academic misconduct, which is not tolerated in the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas. It violates Article 3r, Section 6 of its Rules & Regulations, and may lead to grades of F in the compromised course(s), a note on your transcript, dismissal from the School, or expulsion from the University of Kansas. When a person signs up to use EdTech services, the "terms of service" that are agreed to do not protect the person when an academic unit (e.g., KU School of Engineering) conducts investigations related to academic misconduct (e.g., plagiarism and/or cheating). These services retain contact and information (e.g., IP address, email, time of use) of subscribers and users, which is released upon request. If you are feeling unsure about an assignment, it is important to use the allowable resources available to you, such as instructor office hours, graduate teaching assistants, graders, and/or tutoring.


Points Distribution

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 demo quizzes 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 expectingit 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 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.

Diversity and Inclusion. The University of Kansas supports an inclusive learning environment in which diversity and individual differences are understood, respected, and appreciated. We believe that all students benefit from training and experiences that will help them to learn, lead, and serve in an increasingly diverse society. All members of our campus community must accept the responsibility to demonstrate civility and respect for the dignity of others. Expressions or actions that disparage a person’s or group’s race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, gender, gender identity / expression, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, or disability are contrary to the mission of the University. We expect that KU students, faculty, and staff will promote an atmosphere of respect for all members of our KU community. This is an inclusive classroom. At KU, administrators, faculty, and staff are committed to the creation and maintenance of "inclusive learning" spaces. These are classrooms, labs, and other places of learning where you will be treated with respect and dignity and where all individuals are provided equitable opportunity to participate, contribute, and succeed.

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. Please follow KU's COVID-19 Information (Protect KU) webpage for the latest updates and directives.

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 KU weapons policy. 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 (Fall 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 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.

Aug 24, 2021
Lecture 1 Introduction and Undergraduate Cybersecurity Certificate intro-slides, cert-slides
Aug 26, 2021
Lecture 2

Networking Terminology and Clonezilla

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
slides-networking, clonezilla
Aug 31, 2021
Lecture 3 Reconnaissance (Part 1) slides
Sep 2, 2021
Homework 1
(Lecture 4)

Reconnaissance (Part 2) and Homework 1 Background

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)
slides, hw1
Sep 7, 2021
Lecture 5

Introduction to Exploiting Vulnerabilities and SQL Injections

DVWA - SQL Injection demo: sql-demo
slides, sql-intro
Sep 9, 2021
Lecture 6

Exploiting Vulnerabilities and Metasploit Overview

Supplemental readings:
Sep 14, 2021
Lecture 7

Operating Systems (OS) Basics

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 5: Sections 5.1 and 5.2
Sep 16, 2021
Lecture 8

Password Cracking (Part 1)

Quiz 1 is available on Blackboard (due Monday, September 20, at 11:59pm CT)

Supplemental readings:
Sep 21, 2021
Lecture 9

Password Cracking (Part 2)

Homework 1 feedback: slides

Sep 23, 2021
Report 1
(Lecture 10)

Password Cracking (Part 3)

slides, report1
Sep 28, 2021
Lecture 11

Linux Command Line Basics

Supplemental readings:
Sep 30, 2021
Lecture 12

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
Oct 5, 2021
Lecture 13

Interacting with Network Traffic

Quiz 2 is available on Blackboard (due Friday, October 8, at 11:59pm CT)

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C.P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 6.2
Oct 7, 2021
Lecture 14

Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) -- Part 1

Oct 12, 2021 Fall Break
(No Lecture)
Enjoy the break!
Oct 14, 2021
Homework 2
(Lecture 15)

Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) -- Part 2

slides, hw2
Oct 19, 2021
Lecture 16

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

Report 1 feedback: slides
Oct 21, 2021
Lecture 17

Wireless Network Cracking - WPA/WPA2
WEP instructions handout: wpa-wpa2-handout

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 6.3
Oct 26, 2021
Lecture 18

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)

Quiz 3 is available on Blackboard (due Friday, October 29, at 11:59pm CT)

Oct 28, 2021
Lecture 19

Logging and Auditing

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 8: Section 8.3
Nov 2, 2021
Homework 3
(Lecture 20)

Introduction to Security Onion

Homework 2 feedback: slides

slides, hw3
Nov 4, 2021
Lecture 21


Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 5: Section 5.3
Nov 9, 2021
Report 2
(Lecture 22)

Plan for the Remainder of the Semester and Report 2 Discussion

slides, report2
Nov 11, 2021
Lecture 23

Crypthography Basics

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 12
Nov 16, 2021
Lecture 24

Crypthography Basics and Secure Shell Protocol (Part 1)

Important! Final Exam Info: slides

Nov 18, 2021
Lecture 25

Secure Shell Protocol (Part 2)

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 6.6
Nov 23, 2021
Lecture 26

No in-class lecture, please watch the recorded lecture.

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 6.7
slides, video
Nov 25, 2021 Thanksgiving
(No Lecture)
Happy Thanksgiving!
Nov 30, 2021
Lecture 27 Trends and Research in Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity Everywhere? slides
Dec 2, 2021
Lecture 28 Trends and Research in Cybersecurity and SSH Key Generation slides
Dec 7, 2021
Lecture 29 Final Exam Review slides
Dec 9, 2021
Lecture 30 Q&A Session slides
Dec 17, 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 8/23 Introduction and networking primer
2 8/30 Reconnaissance Assigning Homework 1
3 9/6 Introduction to SQL Injections and Exploiting Vulnerabilities
4 9/13 OS Basics and Introduction to Password Cracking
5 9/20 Password Cracking 1 Assigning Report 1
6 9/27 Password Cracking 2
7 10/4 Sniffing and Interacting with Network Traffic
8 10/11 DoS and DDoS attacks Assigning Homework 2
9 10/18 Wireless Network Cracking
10 10/25 Logging & Auditing
11 11/1 Introduction to Security Onion and Rootkits Assigning Homework 3
12 11/8 Crypthography Basics Assigning Report 2
13 11/15 Secure Shell (SSH) and Firewalls
14 11/22 Thanksgiving break Lecture only on Tuesday
15 11/29 Trends and Research in Cyber Security
16 12/6 Final exam review
17 12/13 Finals week