University of Pittsburgh Courses

Pitt offers a range of cyber-related courses across disciplines throughout the University.

Featured Courses

Here are a few highlighted courses in Fall 2022 from Pitt Cyber Affiliate Scholars:

Instructor: Ahmed Ibrahim

The objective of this course is to provide an understanding of information security ranging from threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks to protection, detection, and response. Students will develop the ability to converse with the terminology used in information security (e.g., confidentiality, authentication, integrity, availability). The course will cover the basics of security issues in operating systems, applications, and databases. This is followed by an examination of the architecture and generalized protocol/operational aspects of information networks to identify how security attacks (e.g., denial of service) are possible. Basics of security mechanisms such as cryptography, firewalls, and secure protocols for networks will be presented. The course will include a discussion of privacy and human factors in security (e.g., usable security).

Instructor: Balaji Palanisamy 

Network security and cryptographic protocols. Network vulnerabilities, attacks on TCP/IP, network monitoring, security at the link, network and transport layers. Cryptography, e.g., Secret and public key schemes, message authentication codes and key management. WLAN security, IPsec, SSL, and VPNs. E-mail security (PGP, s/mime); Kerberos; x.509 Certificates; AAA and mobile IP; SNMP security; firewalls; filters and gateways. Policies and implementation of firewall policies; stateful firewalls; firewall appliances. Network related physical security, risk management, and disaster recovery/contingency planning issues and housekeeping procedures.

Instructor: Anthony Rodi 

This course provides an overview of ethics concepts and decision-making as they are related to Information Systems and Computing. Emphasis is placed on the study of ethical situations and responsibilities of IS professionals around current and emerging technologies in a global setting. Research papers, Case studies and discussion of current ethical events around technology will be used to facilitate discussions in areas including, but not limited to: Cloud Computing, Data protection, Cyber Security, The Digital Divide, Social Media, Intellectual Property, Whistleblowing, Professional Codes of Conduct, Professional liability, Internet freedom in computing and international laws and governance. Invited Subject Matter Experts will conduct informative sessions on key subject matter areas aligned with the course content.

Instructor: Prashant Krishnamurthy

Principles of number theory, cryptographic algorithms and cryptanalysis.  Steganography, block and stream ciphers, secret key encryption (DES, res, re-n), primes, random numbers, factoring, and discrete logarithms. Public key encryption (RSA, Diffie-Helman, elliptical curve cryptography, n'tru); key management, hash functions (md5, sha-1, ripemd-160, HMAC), digital signatures, certificates and authentication protocols. Cryptanalytic methods (known, chosen plaintext etc.) For secret and public key schemes (linear and differential cryptanalysis, pollard's rho method, number field sieve, etc.).

Instructor: David Hickton

This course will explore theoretical and practical aspects of nation-state legal issues concerning cyberspace, with a particular focus on computer-related crime, espionage, war, and international governance. The course will review key legal cases, policy, and legislation. In tandem with a series of expert guest speakers from the field, the course will reflect on the roles of national and international governments, the legal and ethical dimensions of cybersecurity, the relationship between the public and private sectors, and the increasing tensions between privacy and national security. The course will consist of four major components: (1) an assessment of the current cybercrime threat landscape, (2) a review of the relevant national and international legal frameworks, (3) analysis of case studies of significant prosecutions, and (4) assessments of domestic and international policy and security challenges, including gaps in existing frameworks. Students who complete the course will obtain an enhanced understanding of the legal, policy, and security frameworks at the core of these challenging issues for nation-states.

Instructor: Amin Rahimian

This course is organized in three modules: (i) Essence of Data, (ii) AI in the Fabrics of Society, and (iii) Algorithms in the Wild. The first module covers canonical machine learning tasks (classification, clustering, prediction, and estimation) using real-world datasets in applications areas that have societal significance, e.g., medical decision making, bank loan approvals, and bail-setting. The second module covers topics in Law, Ethics, Economics, and Media building on societal implications of the tools encountered in the first module. The third module covers topics in algorithmic fairness and privacy and includes several case studies of algorithms being used for social good, e.g., for wildlife preservation, to prevent poaching, for allocating aid, etc.

Instructor: Lisa Nelson

Information technology and the information that it generates has increasingly become part of our daily lives shaping our practices, discourses, and institutions in fundamental ways. Personal information is used by consumers, professionals, and organizations to a variety of ends and in a number of different settings. The growing reliance on personal information not only challenges long-standing demarcations between public and private institutions in terms of responsibilities, obligations, and limits, but also calls for a reconsideration of how to ensure the protection of long-standing civil liberties and civil rights. This course will consider the impact of emerging technologies within existing constitutional, statutory, and international guidelines and will then explore a range of policy solutions for managing the use of personal information in our public and private sectors.

Instructor: Michael Kenney

Many argue that the 21st century security environment is fundamentally different from and more dangerous than that which existed in previous eras. There is some evidence to suggest that this claim might be true; the security challenges absorbing the majority of states' time, money, and military efforts since the end of the cold war ' and especially since 9/11 ' are notably different from those of the past and, at times, they seem more pervasive. However, it does not necessarily follow that such proximate differences are symptomatic of a deeper shift in the nature of the inherently dangerous international arena. This course explores the nature of the international security environment ' past and present ' and considers whether and to what degree the logics for coping with security challenges have changed over time. In doing so, students will be introduced to the arguments and debates in the academic literature on security and intelligence issues and learn to apply them to contemporary challenges. We will spend the first third of the semester examining traditional security studies concepts and issues like war, coercion, effectiveness in nuclear and conventional warfighting, and the effects of regime type on security policies and achievements. The second third will then be dedicated to considering the utility of traditional concepts in understanding the nature of and strategically-preferable responses to security challenges pervasive in the current international arena like asymmetric warfare, nuclear proliferation and missile defense, terrorism, and space and cyber warfare. The last third of the course examines the nuts and bolts of the United States national security apparatus to better understand how theory is (or should be) transformed into policy. We conclude by considering the costs and benefits of different American grand strategies moving forward.

Instructor: Julia Santucci

This course will focus on how the U.S. intelligence community collects and analyzes information to support U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives.  Students will examine the historical foundations of the intelligence community and consider how the role of intelligence has changed over time, particularly after the attacks of September 11, 2001.  Students will also consider the legal, moral, and ethical factors that influence the roles and conduct of the U.S. intelligence community.  Finally, this course will take a closer look at selected current intelligence topics, such as Russia, China, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber security.

Instructor: Prashant Krishnamurthy

Principles of number theory, cryptographic algorithms and cryptanalysis.  Steganography, block and stream ciphers, secret key encryption (des, res, re-n), primes, random numbers, factoring, and discrete logarithms. Public key encryption (rsa, Diffie-Helman, elliptical curve cryptography, n'tru); key management, hash functions (md5, sha-1, ripemd-160, HMAC).

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