General Information


Matt Bishop
Email: (Pronouns: he, him, his)
Office: 2209 Watershed Sciences (but mostly at home)
Phone: (530) 752-8060
Office Hours: MW 11:00am–12:00pm; MF 2:10pm–3:00pm; W 3:10pm–4:00pm; use the Zoom link on Canvas

Teaching Assistant

Muwei Zheng
Office Hours: Tu 3:00pm–5:00pm


MWF 10:00am–10:50am online; see Canvas for the Zoom link

Discussion Sections

A01 (CRN 40562): M 1:10pm–2:00pm online (see Canvas for the link)
A02 (CRN 40563): W 1:10pm–2:00pm online (see Canvas for the link)

PTA Numbers

The department policy on issuing PTAs is available at If you need a PTA, please read that page, and follow the instructions there. Please do not ask me for a PTA; the department will not issue one unless you met the criteria there.

Course Outline

Introduce principles, mechanisms, and implementations of computer security; learn how attacks work, how to defend against them, and how to design systems to withstand them

Course Goals

Some goals we hope you achieve:


The prerequisites for this course are ECS 150, Operating Systems, and ECS 152A, Computer Networks. Students who have not taken these courses are at a serious disadvantage in this class, and will be dropped unless the instructor approves them taking the class. To make your case, please fill out the missing prerequisite request at Explain what experience you have in the subject of the prerequisite you are missing.


M. Bishop, Computer Security: Art and Science, 2nd Edition, Addison-Wesley Professional, Boston, MA (2018). ISBN: 978-0-321-71233-2.
Recommended: R. Anderson, Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY (2020). ISBN: 978-1-119-64281-7.

Before Each Class

Please do the readings for each class period before the class. We will discuss material from the readings, and if you haven’t done the readings, you might have trouble following along!

Class Web Site

The class web site is on Canvas. To access it, go to and log in using your campus login and password. Then go to ECS 153 in your schedule. Announcements, assignments, handouts, and grades will be posted there, and you must submit assignments there. The alternate web site, has everything except grades, and you cannot submit work there.


These are tentative and subject to change.

Extra Credit

Extra credit is tallied separately from regular scores. It counts in your favor if you end up on a borderline between two grades at the end of the course. But, not doing extra credit will never be counted against you, because grades are assigned on the basis of regular scores. You should do extra credit if you find it interesting and think that it might teach you something. Remember, though, it is not wise to skimp on the regular assignment in order to do extra credit!


There will be quizzes every so often — usually two or three times each week. These quizzes are open book and open notes. You can take them repeatedly until you are satisfied with the outcome. Only the last time you take it will count. These quizzes will typically be due at 11:55pm on the day of the second class after being assigned.


The midterm and final exams will be take-home and open book. You will have a limited amount of time to complete them, and they must be turned in by the deadline. If you miss an exam for medical reasons (you must document this; no other excuses are acceptable), you may be allowed or required to take a make-up exam, or the other parts of the course will be counted proportionally more (the choice is the instructor’s). In particular, forgetting to do an exam is not an excuse for missing it!

Special Accommodations

The Student Disability Center provides letters of accommodation for those who need them. If you need an accommodation, please contact the Student Disability Center as early as possible so you will not be disadvantaged.

Academic Integrity

The UC Davis Code of Academic Conduct, available at, applies to this class. In particular, for this course, all work submitted for credit must be your own. You may discuss your assignments with classmates, with the instructor, or with the teaching assistant in the course to get ideas or a critique of your ideas, but the ideas and words you submit must be your own. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, collaboration is considered cheating and will be dealt with accordingly.

A good analogy between appropriate discussion and inappropriate collaboration is the following: you and a fellow student work for competing software companies developing different products to meet a given specification. You and your competitor might choose to discuss product specifications and general techniques employed in your products, but you certainly would not discuss or exchange proprietary information revealing details of your products. Ask the instructor for clarification beforehand if the above rules are not clear.

For written homework, you must write up your own solutions and may neither read nor copy another student’s solutions. You may not post your answers, or any answers, on a web site.

For programs, you must create and type in your own code and document it yourself. You may not put your program on a public repository. Note that you are free to seek help while debugging a program once it is written.

We will report violations of this policy to the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs. With respect to this class, this may result in a 0 on the assignment or an F in the class; see the department policy at With respect to the University, the consequences may be much more severe; see

Be sure to read the description of plagiarism in the Code of Conduct.
In this class, as in every class at the University, plagiarism is absolutely forbidden.

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Matt Bishop
Office: 2209 Watershed Sciences
Phone: +1 (530) 752-8060
ECS 153, Computer Security
Version of April 6, 2021 at 9:32AM

You can also obtain a PDF version of this.

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