MPCS 56520 Advanced Security Topics (Spring 2024)

Section 1
Instructor(s) Rossell, Shelley (shelley)
Location Online
Meeting Times Tuesday 5:15pm - 7:45pm
Fulfills Elective


Knowing how to defend means knowing how to attack.  This course will focus on penetration testing, drawing on the core concepts from the ‘Introduction to Computer Security' course.  Topics will include:

  • passive reconnaissance and OSINT,
  • active reconnaissance and enumeration,
  • social engineering and credential exploits,
  • web application attacks,
  • shells and maintaining persistence,
  • privilege escalation,
  • exploiting Windows domains,
  • file transfer and lateral movement. 

Labs will primarily use Kali linux as the attacking machine against Linux, Windows, and web application targets.

Course Prerequisites

Core Programming
MPCS 56511 Introduction to Computer Security

Other Prerequisites

Note: The following are helpful background that can give you a deeper understanding of penetration testing goals and targets. However if you did not take these courses you can still do well in this course.

MPCS 54001 Networks (recommended) or similar knowledge of TCP/IP, routing, and other networking concepts.
MPCS 53001 Databases (recommended) or similar understanding of relational database structure and SQL (structured query language).

This course requires basic competency in Unix and Linux. If you attended the MPCS Unix Bootcamp you covered the required material. If you did not, please review the UChicago CS Student Resource Guide here:

Overlapping Classes

This class is scheduled at a time that conflicts with these other classes:

  • MPCS 55001-1 -- Algorithms
  • MPCS 53001-1 -- Databases
  • MPCS 55005-1 -- Advanced Algorithms

Eligible Programs

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