Courses/Computer Science/CPSC 601.29.ISSA.W2014

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Information Systems Security Analysis

A graduate seminar on systems security.


The course is held once per week from 4pm to 6:45pm in ICT 616. There will be a short break around 5:15pm.


This is a graduate seminar. Your grade is based on your ability to critically assess and present research work in the field of systems security. You will have the opportunity to make three presentations.

Session List and Schedule

This is the schedule of papers to read and presentations. Everyone is responsible for reading the "primary readings" each week. Presenters are responsible for reading both the background reading and the primary reading.

Session Date Topic Primary Readings Background Readings Presenter
1 13 Jan. Introduction, Overview Hacking the Abacus: Chapter 2 1 2 3 Locasto
2 20 Jan. S1: History of Memory Corruption, S2: ibid 1 2 3 4 5 slides Locasto
3 27 Jan. S1: Chukuka talk, S2: Heap Feng Shui x (x, x, x) Chukuka
4 3 Feb. S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Laing
5 10 Feb. S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Navabisohi
6 17 Feb. no class: reading week no class catch up on readings (none)
7 24 Feb. class will be rescheduled x (x, x, x) Rougeau
8 3 March S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Chukuka
9 10 March S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Laing
10 17 March S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Navabisohi
11 24 March S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Rougeau
12 31 March S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Chukuka
13 7 April S1: TBD, S2: TBD x (x, x, x) Laing
14 14 April S1: TBD, S2: TBD x1, x2 (x, x, x) Navabisohi, Rougeau


  • Ethics
  • Code Injection (Attacks and Countermeasures)
    • stack
    • heap
    • countermeasures
  • Isolation
    • classic work / multics
    • Janus
    • systrace
    • bsd jail
    • privilege separation
  • Virtualization and Security
  • Trust Management
  • Artificial Diversity
  • ROP
  • Self--Healing
  • Filtering and Reverse Engineering Network Protocols and File Formats
    • Tupni
  • IDS
  • LangSec
  • Approaches to System Instrumentation
  • Fault tolerance

Selected Hacker Talks (to view)

  • TBD
  • TBD
  • ...

Uncategorized and Miscellaneous Links

Papers (raw)

Protection, Classic Work in Systems and Access Control

  1. Protection. Proc. 5th Princeton Conf. on Information Sciences and Systems, Princeton, 1971. Reprinted in ACM Operating Systems Rev. 8, 1 (Jan. 1974), pp 18-24 PDF
  2. "Protection in Operating Systems" by Michael A. Harrison, Walter L. Ruzzo, and Jeffrey D. Ullman (ACM Digital Library, available via U of C with appropriate network address)
  3. "Protection in an information processing utility"
  4. "A hardware architecture for implementing protection rings"
  5. (Sections 1 and 2)
  6. (Abstract, Section 1 and 2)
  7. "The Protection of Information in Computer Systems" by Jerome H. Saltzer and Michael D. Schroeder

  • Thomas Dullien and Halvar Flake "Exploitation and State Machines" PDF
  • F. B. Schneider. Enforceable Security Policies. ACM Transactions on Information and System Security, 2(4), Mar. 2000.
  • A Language-Based Approach to Security. Fred B. Schneider, Greg Morrisett, and Robert Harper2

Bugs in Open Source Software:

  • Insertion, Evasion, and Denial of Service: Eluding Network Intrusion Detection by Thomas H Ptacek and Timothy M. Newsham
  • Network Intrusion Detection: Evasion, Traffic Normalization, and End-to-End Protocol Semantics. Mark Handley and Vern Paxson and Christian Kreibich USENIX paperhtml


  • Steven M. Bellovin. Virtual machines, virtual security. Communications of the ACM, 49(10), October 2006. “Inside RISKS” column. html
  • VM-based Security Overkill: A Lament for Applied Systems Security Research. Sergey Bratus, Michael E. Locasto, Ashwin Ramaswamy, and Sean W. Smith. Proceedings of the 19th New Security Paradigms Workshop (NSPW 2010). September 2010. Concord, MA, USA. PDF
  • seL4:

  • Jedidiah R. Crandall, Zhendong Su, S. Felix Wu, and Frederic T. Chong. On Deriving Unknown Vulnerabilities from Zero-Day Polymorphic and Metamorphic Worm Exploits. In the proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS 2005). Alexandria, Virginia. November 2005

[Shellcode] Mason, Small, Monrose, MacManus. CCS 2009.

[Software Guards for System Address Spaces]

["Transparent Runtime Defense Against Stack Smashing Attacks"]

["StackGuard: Automatic Adaptive Detection and Prevention of Buffer-Overflow Attacks"]

["On the Effectiveness of Address Space Randomization"]

["Return Oriented Rootkits"] by Hund, Holz, and Freiling

["Building Diverse Computer Systems"]

["Randomized Instruction Set Emulation to Disrupt Binary Code Injection Attacks"] or ["Countering Code-Injection Attacks with Instruction-Set Randomization"]

["The Geometry of Innocent Flesh on the Bone"]

["A Comparison of Publicly Available Tools for Dynamic Buffer Overflow Prevention"]

[Automatic Adaptive Detection and Prevention of Buffer-Overflow Attacks]

[Protecting Pointers From Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities]

[Intrusion Prevention Evaluator]

['em Where it Hurts: A Live Security Exercise on Cyber Situational Awareness]

Attacks: Programs for Weird Machines


  7. Lines in the Sand: Which Side Are You On in the Hacker Class War




It's OK to let students hack:

On "The Research Value of Publishing Attacks"

ethics of error prevention: