COSC 480 A (Fall 2011)

Topics in Computer Security

Aaron D. Jaggard

Course Description

This course studies the theoretical foundations of security and their use in analyzing both individual cryptographic operations and protocols that (claim to) provide security for communication over insecure networks. One part of this course will cover the mathematical underpinnings and properties of the cryptographic building blocks---such as algorithms for encryption (both symmetric and asymmetric/public-key) and digital signatures---that are used in security protocols. Another part of this course will cover the formal analysis of communication protocols built from such operations; this includes the formalization of protocol properties such as secrecy and authentication, the study of attacks on communication protocols, and proofs that certain protocols do provide the properties they claim to. Among other activities, the laboratory component of this course will make use of automated tools (such as ProVerif) to formalize protocols and analyze their security.

Prerequisites: COSC 302 and COSC 304 (or instructor's permission).

Textbooks and resources

Required text:
Introduction to Modern Cryptography
Jonathan Katz and Yehuda Lindell
Chapman & Hall/CRC
ISBN-13: 978-1-58488-551-1

Optional text:
Cryptography: Theory and Practice (3rd ed.)
Douglas R. Stinson
Chapman & Hall/CRC
ISBN-13: 978-1-58488-508-5

In addition to these, the course will also draw on the research literature.

The lab component of this course will make use of the ProVerif protocol-analysis tool; that software and its documentation are available from


Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 16:41