ECE 5584 Network Security | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Fundamentals of network security. Network security architecture, user and attacker perspective. Practical applications and security standards. Protocol design principles and their impact on computer and network security. Authentication systems. Email security. Firewalls and intrusion detection. Security for wireless systems.

Why take this course?

Cybersecurity has become a national priority because it is critical to a broad array of societal concerns, including personal privacy, financial accountability and national security. Security problems represent at enormous challenge to the safety and functionality of modern networked computing systems. Many career paths open to computer science and engineering graduates require them to have a good understanding of cybersecurity challenges arising in the context of networking. This course is part of a set of three new courses and one revised course in cybersecurity. This course focuses on more advanced security issues in the context of networking.


CS 5560/ECE 5560

Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • Distinguish among network security objectives of confidentiality, integrity, authentication, non-repudiation and availability.
  • Apply design principles of authentication systems.
  • Analyze the objectives of real-time secure handshake protocols and locate design pitfalls.
  • Compare the key management problems for symmetric cryptography-based and asymmetric cryptography-based security protocols.
  • Appraise the architecture and functionality of the Kerberos authentication system.
  • Assess the objectives of network security protocols such as Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) and Transport Layer Security (TLS); compare security mechanisms used to meet these objectives.
  • Distinguish threats to email and threats enabled by email; choose among various security mechanisms employed to protect email security.
  • Specify the basic principles of network intrusion detection systems.
  • Compare the unique security challenges in wireless networks; apply various wireless network security standards.

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

1. Fundamental Concepts * Network security architecture, basic security concepts, cryptographic techniques, networking concepts and attacks 20%
* Overview of authentication systems, authentication of people 10%
* Security handshake principles and common pitfalls 10%
2. Security standards * Key Management Fundamentals 5%
* Network Authentication Protocol 10%
* Public Key Infrastructure 5%
* Real-time communication security 5%
* Network Security Protocols 15%
3. Other network security topics * Email Security 5%
* Firewalls, Intrusion detection 5%
* Wireless security 10%