Cyber Defense

EECS 465, Spring 2023

Course Details

Lectures Tuesday & Thursday 2:30pm - 3:45pm, 2003 Eaton Hall
Instructor Alex Bardas
Office: 2040 Eaton Hall
Tuesday and Thursday 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT, and by email appointment
(Email appointment is needed to schedule a meeting over Zoom: meeting details)
: alexbardas ku edu
Teaching Assistant and Grader Kabir Panahi
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 3:45pm - 4:45pm CT, and by email appointment
(Email appointment is needed to schedule a meeting over Zoom: meeting details)
: kabir.panahi ku edu
Lab Manager and Grader Dalton Brucker-Hahn
Office Hours: By appointment over Zoom
(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, over Canvas, and/or email, 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 Canvas (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 participate 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 Misconduct. "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, homework, 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 assistant, grader, 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 mainly uses Canvas for releasing quizzes, for uploading your completed assignments, and for storing the grades. 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 University Academic Support Centers 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 Student Access Center, 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 Center 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.

Public Health Considerations. Please follow the 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 (Spring 2023). 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.

Jan 17, 2023
Lecture 1 Introduction and Undergraduate Cybersecurity Certificate

intro-slides, cert-slides
Jan 19, 2023
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
networking-slides, clonezilla-slides
Jan 24, 2023
Lecture 3

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
os-slides, access-lab-infrastructure
Jan 26, 2023
Lecture 4

Linux Command Line Basics

Quiz 1 is available on Canvas (due Monday, Jan 30, at 11:59pm CT)

Supplemental readings:
basic-commands, LAMP-stack
Jan 31, 2023
Lecture 5

Reconnaissance (Part 1)

Supplemental readings:

Tentative Roadmap

Week Week of Topic(s) Notes
1 1/16 Introduction and Networking Primer
2 1/23 Operating Systems (OS) and Linux Command Line Basics Assigning Quiz 1
3 1/30 Reconnaissance Assigning Homework 1
4 2/6 Exploiting Vulnerabilities and Introduction to SQL Injections Assigning Quiz 2
5 2/13 Password Cracking (Part 1) Assigning Report 1
6 2/20 Password Cracking (Part 2)
7 2/27 Crypthography Basics Assigning Homework 2
8 3/6 Secure SHell (SSH)
9 3/13 Spring Break
10 3/20 Sniffing and Interacting with Network Traffic Assigning Homework 3
11 3/27 DoS and DDoS attacks Assigning Quiz 4
12 4/3 Wireless Networks Cracking and Logging&Auditing
13 4/10 Rootkits Assigning Report 2
14 4/17 Firewalls
15 4/24 Introduction to Security Onion and Research in Cybersecurity Assigning Quiz 5
16 5/1 Final Exam Review
17 5/8 Finals Week