ECS 155: What This Course Is About

Has your computer ever been infected with a computer virus? Ever wondered why you get so much spam? How safe is that credit card information that you enter in a web browser when you buy something on line? How realistic is that computer forensic stuff on television shows like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Law & Order”?

These questions, and many more, will be answered in ECS 155, Computer Security for Non-Majors. In it, we’ll explore what computer security is all about, and look at the principles underlying the technology. We’ll see what the “bad guys and gals” can do, and how to protect yourself. We’ll also look at why they can do these things, and see what can be done to eliminate the problems.

The course will also explore security in the Internet. Many of the problems are structural, because the Internet protocols were designed when the ancestors of the current Internet was a much more constrained, contained network with a very limited set of users. It’s a good study in what happens when society meets technology, and how the two mix.

Among the topics we will cover are:

We’ll look at these as they occur in everyday, and not-so-everyday, usage in:

At the end of this course, you’ll have been introduced to the basic ideas, issues, and mechanisms of computer security. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll know how to read and interpret statements about security, and know what questions to ask to evaluate claims. You’ll also have learned about computer security in daily life.

This course requires only a basic knowledge of computers and programming (at the level of ECS 15, Introduction to Computers). If you’re not sure whether you have the background, either talk to one of the instructors, or come to the first class.


Course Details

Lecture: TuTh 12:10PM–3:00PM, 290 Hickey
Discussion Section: M 4:10PM–5:00PM, 290 Hickey
CRN: 53665 (4 units)
Official description:

ECS 155, Computer Security for Non-Majors
Spring Quarter 2011