MPCS 56511 Introduction to Computer Security (Autumn 2022)

Section 1
Instructor(s) Rossell, Shelley (shelley)
Location None
Meeting Times
Fulfills Core Systems Elective


*Please note: This is the syllabus from the 2021/22 academic year and subject to change.*


This course introduces security principles and practices across a range of fundamental Security domains.  It will emphasize both offense (attacker mindset) and defense (technical and non-technical controls).


  • Threat Landscape
  • Encryption
  • Authentication and access control
  • Endpoint security
  • Network security
  • Web and application security
  • Risk management
  • Monitoring and Incident response


  • Homework assignments, including required readings from free online resources
  • Labs
  • Quizzes
  • Final project

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students should: 

  • Understand common threats and protections for endpoints, networks, and web applications
  • Demonstrate knowledge of encryption, authentication and access controls, policies, frameworks, risk, monitoring, and incident response
  • Have hands-on exposure to tools attackers and defenders use
  • Understand basic threats, protections, and tradeoffs
  • Learn how to have a security mindset

Course Prerequisites

MPCS 54001: Networks (recommended, but not required)

Other Prerequisites

Familiarity with Linux command line
Familiarity with TCP/IP and network routing recommended

Overlapping Classes

This class is scheduled at a time that does not conflict with any other classes this quarter.

Eligible Programs

Masters Program in Computer Science MS in Computational Analysis in Public Policy (Year 2) MA in Computational Social Science (Year 1) MA in Computational Social Science (Year 2) Bx/MS in Computer Science (Option 1: Research-Oriented) Bx/MS in Computer Science (Option 2: Professionally-oriented - CS Majors) Bx/MS in Computer Science (Option 3: Profesionally-oriented - Non-CS Majors) MS in Molecular Engineering