MSI 416: Communications Networking & Security

Spring 2006 Syllabus

Instructor Information

Sanjay Goel picture

Sanjay Goel

Office: BA 310b
Hours: M 12:30-2PM & by appt.
PH: (518) 442-4925
FX (518) 442-2568
Email: [email protected]
Jakov Crnkovic Picture

Jakov (Yasha) Crnkovic

Office: BA 332
Hours: MW 10:00 - 11:30am
PH: (518) 442-5318
FX (518) 442-2568
Email: [email protected]


Time:MW 8:30am-10:15pm
Room:BA 233
Dates:January 19 - April 13
Call #:4315

Available Lab(s)

Undergraduate Lab

Text & Reference Books

Text: Data Communications & Computer Networks: A Business Users's Approach by Curt M. White

Reference: Security In Computing (Third Edition) by Charles P. Pfleeger & Shari Lawrence Pfleeger

Reference: Hackers Beware by Eric Cole


This course covers Data Communications, Computer Networking, and Computer Security. The first module of the course focuses on communications where we discuss fundamentals of signal transmission, transmission hardware, and basic communication concepts such as error control and multiplexing. Different wired and wireless media, such as, fiber optic, coaxial cables, cell phones, satellite microwave are also presented. Students learn the pros and cons of selecting different media types. In addition, network topologies, the OSI model, and the TCP/IP protocol suite. This module also covers the various architectures used on the Internet, including client-server, peer-to-peer and n-tier architectures. Also covered is network switching and schemes for routing data on the network. Students will have the opportunity to use simple network simulation tools. In the second module of the class, vulnerabilities of computer networks and techniques for protecting networks and data are discussed. Basic elements of symmetric and asymmetric cryptography are discussed. Secure Electronic Commerce, involving secure transmission, authentication, digital signatures, digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructure is presented. Issues in privacy, ethics and policies are also discussed where students study technologies like Web Bugs and Carnivore and debate on ethical issues related to privacy.

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

  1. Hardware and protocols involved in transmission of data over networks
  2. Various networking architectures and and their applications
  3. Use of cryptographic techniques used for secure communication on networks
  4. To analyze the threats, vulnerabilities and sliutions for information system security
  5. Through hands-on experience in auditing & testing the security of computer networks
  6. Critical thinking skills via debates on the ethics and legal issues in electronic data access


Assignments &: Paper: 50%

Assignments: Assignments given in any week is due at the beginning of the class on the same day in the following week. There will be a penalty for late assignments unless there is a very pressing reason for the delay. Please work individually on all assignments. Stop by the instructor offices if you have difficulty in understanding the assignment or the course material discussed in the class.

Term Paper (Computer Security): If students are asked to write a term paper the students should make two person teams. Each team must complete a term paper on one of the topics presented by the instructor. The paper should include a broad introduction of the topic and a comprehensive discussion of a few selected aspects of the topic. The paper should be four pages (single spaced, 12 pt text, 1 inch margins) long so the students should make an effort to write four pages of original text. The paper should reflect a clear understanding of the subject by the the student. The presentation should not exceed more than five content slides. Please use your critical thinking skills to be concise and focused on both the paper as well as the presentations. As an alternative the instructor may give the students some readings that he/she is supposed to analyze and discuss in the class.

Exam: 50%

Course Schedule

No. Date Topics Readings Instructor
1 1/19 Introduction / The Big Picture of Networks Chapter 1 Crnkovic
2 1/24 Fund. of Data & Signals/Hardware & Media Types 2/3
3 1/26 Connections 4
4 1/31 Multiplexing/Error Detection & Control 5/6
5 2/2 LAN 7
6 2/7 LAN 8,9
7 2/9 Telecom Systems (Exam I) 12
8 2/14 Metropolitan and Wide Area Networks 10
9 2/16 Network Design and Management 14
10 2/23 Network Design and Management, cont'd.
11 2/28 Internet 11
12 3/2 Internet, cont'd. 11
13 3/7 E-Commerce/M-Commerce Notes
14 3/9 Emerging Network Architectures (Exam II) Notes
15 3/14 Networking/ OSI Model Notes Goel
16 3/16 Introduction to Security/Security Threats I
17 3/30 Security Lab (Password Auditing) Notes
18 4/4 Security Threats II Notes
19 4/6 Security Lab (Penetration Testing) Notes
20 4/11 Cryptography- Symmetic & Asymmetric / (Exam III) Notes
21 4/13 XML & Web Services Notes

Download syllabus: msi416syllabus.pdf