Cyber Defense

EECS 465, Spring 2022

Course Details

Lectures Tuesday & Thursday 5:30pm - 6:45pm, 2002 Eaton Hall
Instructor Alex Bardas
Office: 2040 Eaton Hall
Office Hours: Thursday 2:00pm - 4:00 pm CT, 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 Hours: Monday 10:00 - 11:00 am CT 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 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 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: KU School of Engineering faculty and instructors are aware that some students are actively posting/downloading homework, laboratory, and exam questions and responses to EdTech services (e.g., Chegg) even during exam time frames. Keep in mind that when a person signs up to participate by either uploading, and/or downloading, and/or using posted material from these sites, the "terms of service" that are agreed to do not protect the person when KU and/or the School of Engineering decide to conduct investigations related to academic misconduct (e.g., plagiarism and/or cheating).
EdTech services, such as Chegg, retain contact information of students who use their services and will release that information, which is traceable, upon request. Using these services for cheating purposes constitutes academic misconduct, which is not tolerated in the School of Engineering. It violates Article 3r, Section 6 of its Rules & Regulations, and may lead to grades of F in compromised course(s), transcript citations of academic misconduct, and suspension (even expulsion) from the University of Kansas. If unsure about assignments, it is important that students use the allowable available resources, such as instructor office hours and/or the graduate teaching assistant. The School of Engineering wants students to be successful; cheating is not the way to attain that success.


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 Canvas mainly for the quizzes and generally for storing and displaying the grades. When explicitly directed by the instructor or grader/TA, Canvas 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 University Academic Support Centers coordinate 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 them, 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 (Spring 2022). 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.

Jan 18, 2022
Lecture 1 Introduction and Undergraduate Cybersecurity Certificate intro-slides, cert-slides
Jan 20, 2022
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 25, 2022
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
Jan 27, 2022
Lecture 4

Linux Command Line Basics

Quiz 1 is available on Canvas (due Monday, January 31, at 11:59pm CT)

Supplemental readings:
Feb 1, 2022
Lecture 5

Reconnaissance (Part 1)

Supplemental readings:
Feb 3, 2022
Homework 1
(Lecture 6)

Reconnaissance (Part 2)

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
Feb 8, 2022
Lecture 7

Homework 1 Background and Introduction to SQL Injections

DVWA - SQL Injection demo: sql-demo
Feb 10, 2022
Lecture 8

Exploiting Vulnerabilities and Metasploit Overview (Part 1)
Metasploit demo: basic-usage-example

Supplemental readings:
Feb 15, 2022
Lecture 9

Exploiting Vulnerabilities and Metasploit Overview (Part 2)

Feb 17, 2022 Lecture 10 Lecture and office hours cancelled. The Lawrence, Edwards and Leavenworth campuses are closed on Thursday, Feb. 17, due to inclement weather. See here for the latest updates.
Feb 22, 2022
Lecture 11

Password Cracking (Part 1)

Quiz 2 is available on Canvas (due Friday, February 25, at 11:59pm CT)

Supplemental readings:
Feb 24, 2022
Report 1
(Lecture 12)

Password Cracking (Part 2)

slides, report1
Mar 1, 2022
Lecture 13

Password Cracking (Part 3)

Mar 3, 2022
Lecture 14

Crypthography Basics (Part 1)

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 12
Mar 8, 2022
Lecture 15

Crypthography Basics (Part 2)

Mar 10, 2022 Lecture 16

Lecture and office hours cancelled. The Lawrence, Edwards and Leavenworth campuses are closed on Thursday, March 10, due to inclement weather. See here for the latest updates.

The deadline for Report 1 has been extended. See the Report 1 description page for more details.

Spring Break
Mar 22, 2022
Lecture 17

Secure Shell Protocol

Quiz 3 is available on Canvas (due Friday, March 25, at 11:59pm CT)

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 6.6
Mar 24, 2022
Lecture 18

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
Mar 29, 2022
Homework 2
(Lecture 19)

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
slides, hw2
Mar 31, 2022
Lecture 20

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

Apr 5, 2022
Lecture 21

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

Apr 7, 2022
Homework 3
(Lecture 22)

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

No office hours today, instructor is attending a local conference.

slides, hw3
Apr 12, 2022
Lecture 23

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
Apr 14, 2022
Lecture 24

Logging and Auditing

Quiz 4 is available on Canvas (due Monday, April 18, at 11:59pm CT)

Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 8: Section 8.3
Apr 19, 2022
Report 2
(Lecture 25)


Supplemental readings:
  • (Optional) Textbook: C. P. Pfleeger, S. Lawrence Pfleeger, and J. Margulies. 2015.
    Security in Computing (5th Edition) - Chapter 5: Section 5.3
slides, report2
Apr 21, 2022
Lecture 26

Plan for the Remainder of the Semester

Apr 26, 2022
Lecture 27

Introduction to Security Onion

Quiz 5 is available on Canvas (due Tuesday, May 3, at 11:59pm CT)

Student Survey of Teaching for EECS 465

Apr 28, 2022
Lecture 28

Trends and Research in Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity Everywhere?

May 3, 2022
Lecture 29

Final Exam Review

May 5, 2022
Lecture 30

Q&A Session

May 10, 2022
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 2012 to 2022) 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 (Turnitin Feedback Studio in Canvas 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 1/17 Introduction and Networking Primer
2 1/24 Operating Systems (OS) and Linux Command Line Basics Assigning Quiz 1
3 1/31 Reconnaissance Assigning Homework 1
4 2/7 Exploiting Vulnerabilities and Introduction to SQL Injections
5 2/14 Password Cracking (Part 1) Assigning Quiz 2
6 2/21 Password Cracking (Part 2) Assigning Report 1
7 2/28 Crypthography Basics (Part 1)
8 3/7 Crypthography Basics (Part 2)
9 3/14 Spring Break
10 3/21 Secure SHell (SSH) Assigning Quiz 3
11 3/28 Sniffing and Interacting with Network Traffic Assigning Homework 2
12 4/4 DoS and DDoS attacks Assigning Homework 3
13 4/11 Wireless Network Cracking and Logging & Auditing Assigning Quiz 4
14 4/18 Rootkits and Plan for the Remainder of the Semester Assigning Report 2
15 4/25 Introduction to Security Onion and Research in Cyber Security Assigning Quiz 5
16 5/2 Final Exam Review
17 5/9 Finals Week