Cyber Concentration

Cyber Operations Concentration

The Cyber Operations Concentration builds upon the current ABET Accredited Bachelor of Science in Computer Science by adding six courses (3 required, 3 electives) that focus on Cyber Operations and provides hands-on experience with tools and techniques for investigating, analyzing, and responding to cyber-attacks. We project the following courses over the next two semesters, pending faculty availability. 

Scheduled Fall 23 Courses 

  • CSE 3801 Introduction to Cybersecurity  (Required)
  • CSE 4830 Software Reverse Engineering (Required)
  • CSE 4820 Wireless / Mobile Security (Elective)
  • CSE 4890 Memory Forensics (Elective)

Projected Spring 24 Courses (subject to faculty availability)

  • CSE 4850 Vulnerability Research (Required)
  • CSE 4860 Designing Cybersecurity Competitions (Elective)
  • CSE 4880 Cyber Forensics (Elective)

Starting the Concentration

Typically, the concentration starts with either CSE 3801 or CSE 4830 in the fall semester of a student's junior year.  The concentration can be applied to your transcript at any time up until graduation. For this reason, it is best to wait until you have met all the course requirements to apply the concentration. Your advisor can change your concentration by emailing Class sizes are limited. You should register early. Please note, due to the change in requirements, students admitted in previous catalogs, should elect into the CY23 Computer Science w/ Cyber Operations degree plan when it becomes available in August 2023.

Required Courses:

  • CSE 3801 Introduction to Cybersecurity  
  • CSE 4830 Software Reverse Engineering 
  • CSE 4850 Vulnerability Research 

Electives (Choose 3):

  • CSE 4820 Wireless and Mobile Security
  • CSE 4860 Designing Cybersecurity Competitions (Newly Proposed Course)
  • CSE 4880 Cyber Forensics
  • CSE 4890 Memory Forensics
  • CSE 3810 Cyber Defense Fundamentals (not slated for Fall 23 / Spring 24 schedule)
  • CSE 4840 Cyber Offense Fundamentals (not slated for Fall 23 / Spring 24 schedule)
  • * or CYB,CSE electives as approved by program chair


Competitive security exercises and hands-on learning represent a powerful approach for teaching cybersecurity. We have published the following peer-reviewed articles exploring our pedagogical approach for classes in our concentration.

  • TJ OConnor, Carl Mann, Tiffanie Petersen, Isaiah Thomas and Chris Stricklan. Toward an Automatic Exploit Generation Competition for an Undergraduate Binary Reverse Engineering Course.  In Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE), Dublin, Ireland, July 2022. ACM. [bib] [pdf] [course materials]

  • TJ OConnor. HELO DarkSide: Breaking free from katas and embracing the adversarial mindset in cybersecurity education. In Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), Providence, RI, March 2022. ACM. [bib] [pdf]

  • TJ OConnor, Chris Stricklan. Teaching a Hands-On Mobile and Wireless Cybersecurity Course. ACM Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). June 2021. [bib] [pdf]

  • Chris Stricklan, TJ OConnor. Towards Binary Diversified Challenges For A Hands-On Reverse Engineering Course. ACM Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). June 2021. [bib] [pdf]


CSE 3801 Introduction to Cybersecurity

[Catalog Link]

Prerequisite: CSE2010  Examines the concepts and terminology of cyber operations from a practical point of view. Discusses ethical and legal considerations of cyber operations. Introduces vulnerability analysis and exploit development. Examines recent security-related trends and technologies.

CSE 3810 Cyber Defense

[Catalog Link]

Prerequisite: CSE3801, CSE3231 Examines the defense of information technology from a practical point of view. Introduces security principles, design, methods for reducing complexity and detection of reconnaissance, malicious traffic, and covert channels. Students will both design and implement a defense architecture by leveraging risk models including NIST SP 800-37 /39.

CSE 4820 Wireless / Mobile Security

[Catalog Link]

Prerequisite: CSE3801, CSE3231 Examines the security and privacy of wireless and mobile technologies from a practical point of view. Discusses cryptographic primitives and proper association and authentication of users. Examines a lengthy history of design/implementation flaws in various wireless technologies. Discusses recent wireless security-related trends and technologies.

CSE 4830 Software Reverse Engineering

[Catalog Link]

Prerequisite: CSE3120 Examines the study of how compilers generate binaries. Explores static, dynamic, and symbolic methods for analysis. Discusses anti-reversing and obfuscation techniques. Examines how programmer error and compilation techniques can introduce vulnerabilities into software binaries.

CSE 4840 Cyber Offense

[Catalog Link]

Prerequisite: CSE3801 Examines offensive cyber operations scenarios from both a strategic and tactical point of view. Discusses strategic concepts including the planning, execution, and phases of cyber operations. Enumerates attack methods in the cyber kill chain and MITRE Att&ck Framework through practical exercises. Reviews case studies of offensive cyber operations.

CSE 4850 Vulnerability Research

[Catalog Link]

Prerequisites: CSE4830 Introduce exploit development by static and dynamic analysis of vulnerabilities. Provides a taxonomy of vulnerabilities including buffer overflows, use-after-free, format strings, and logic bugs. Examines the concept of overcoming exploit mitigation strategies with return-oriented­ programming and memory-leaks.

CSE 4860 Designing Cybersecurity Competitions

Prerequisites: CSE3801 Reviews the history of capture-the-flag, red vs. blue, and hybrid cybersecurity competitions. Examines the engineering and management of cybersecurity competitions. Explores the creation of engaging and challenging competitions through expert design.

CSE 4880 Cyber Forensics

Prerequisites: CSE3801 Introduces the principles and practices of digital forensics including digital investigations, data and file recovery methods, and digital forensics analysis and invalidation. Topics include data acquisition, digital forensics tools, virtual machines, network, mobile devices, drone and cloud forensics

CSE 4890 Memory Forensics

Prerequisites: CSE3801, CSE 4880: Traditional digital forensics investigations focus on the non-volatile storage devices such as hard drives, CDs, backups, tapes, etc. Over the last decade, there has been an increasing interest among the cybersecurity research community and practitioners to perform memory forensics. Memory Forensics is the technique of deeply investigating volatile computer memory (RAM) contents. Meticulous examination of RAM can reveal hidden processes, network connections, clipboard contents, evidence of malware, and a wealth of other substantial evidence. This course provides a solid foundation in memory forensics, based primarily on using the Volatility - memory forensics framework, an open-source toolset written in Python. The course ultimately re- quires you to develop essential skills in operating systems internals (Mac, Windows, Linux, Android) since memory forensics concentrates on the data structures used internally by operating systems(as well as some userspace applications).


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