- Nael B. Abu-Ghazaleh, naelag (at) ucr (dot) edu, Office: WCH 441 Office hours: By appointment (feel free to drop by as well)
Lectures: 3:40 to 5:00 Life Science 2418
Should you take this class?
This class is a breadth survey focusing on the role of computer architecture as well as hardware in the security of computing systems. Most of the cybersecurity community focuses on security as a software problem with attacks targeting software, and defenses trying to fix that software. In this course, our focus is more on what attacks are exposed by the lower levels of the system (Architecture, hardware, low-level firmware) and conversely, what these layers of the system can do to secure systems (not expose vulnerabilities, but also provide mechanisms and tools to secure software and the system overall).
The topic of the course is broad, but at the same time, I think it is fine if you don't know much about computer architecture, operating systems, security, hardware, etc... I don't expect any one student to have all that background. I will provide background where necessary, although you may not understand everything in detail, you should still learn a lot about every topic.
The class is run as a seminar, and therefore, there are no exams. The required work includes having to read papers (roughly two per week), occasionally writing a summary (roughly one every 2 weeks), presenting papers (at least once, but possibly twice, depending on enrollment), and writing a mini-survey about a topic of your choice (roughly 5 pages). To get a good grade, you should do your reading, attend classes, and participate in discussions. Hopefully, the lack of exams and direct assessment, will help diffuse concerns about having sufficient background.