Course syllabus

EDA491/DIT071 Network security sp4 2024  (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Contact details

  • Teacher and course examiner
    • Associate professor Tomas Olovsson  <>
  • Teaching assistants
    • Syed Umer Bukhari <>  Responsible for lab work
    • Mohamed Hashim Changrampadi <>
    • Mateen Malik <>
    • Alvin Larsson Bringholm <>
    • Willem Brahmstaedt <>

Preferred communication is to use Canvas in communication with the teaching assistants. For other questions and more urgent issues, please use email.

Course purpose

This course is part of a security specialization offered by the department which consists of four courses: Computer security, Network security, Language-based security and Cryptography.

We begin the course by looking at weaknesses that have plagued networked systems for years. We continue with countermeasures like firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and investigate how security protocols such as SSL/TLS, SSH and IPsec work in detail and what makes them secure. The course also gives a survey of cryptographic tools and explains how they can be utilized in protocols and applications, for example how to provide secure user authentication over a public network.

Knowledge about possible threats and countermeasures is important not only for the network security specialist but also for application programmers and everyone else who wants to understand what level of security a system and an application can offer. By knowing the problems, future systems can be designed to be much more secure and reliable than today.

This course covers the underlying principles and techniques for network and communication security. Practical examples of security problems and principles for countermeasures are given. The course also surveys cryptographic and other tools used to provide security and reviews how these tools are utilized in protocols and applications.


Prerequisites for this course are good knowledge of communication principles and protocols (TCP, IP, ICMP, ARP, etc.) You must have taken at least one communications course before to be able to follow this course. We also recommend that you have taken the course Computer Security which shows how to think regarding security and discusses security issues in a wider perspective. Other relevant courses are Computer Networks and Cryptography which will make some topics easier to understand.

Course design

The course consists of a series of lectures and lab sessions. The lab sessions focus on network scanning, building firewalls, configuration of an intrusion detection system (IDS) and practical work with analyzing the SSL/TLS protocol. 

Lecture Schedule

Lectures will be held in HC3:

  • Tuesdays 13:15 - 15:00
  • Thursdays 13:15 - 15:00
  • Fridays 13:15 - 15:00

Not all these times will be used, please see the lecture schedule or TimeEdit for details. There may be some topic changes during the course so the order of the lectures may be changed during the course.

Slides from the lectures will be available for download before the lecture, but please note that minor changes should be expected. The final version will be placed here shortly after each lecture, possibly with fixed typos and clarifications due to questions during lectures.

LAB Schedule

The course has four lab sessions (assignments) where you work with scanning, firewalls, IDS systems and SSL/TLS. They are mandatory and one of the assignments also requires a written report to be handed in. The labs have to be done in groups of two (not one, not three). There are three Lab sessions for each lab where TAs are present, you need to participate in one such session for each lab to demonstrate your results. More details about lab bookings and how to sign up for groups can be found in the Lab Introduction.

Course literature

The course consists of the following material:

  • Slides from the lectures
  • Text book including web chapters (see lecture plan for details)
  • Mandatory reading material, presented under Modules 
  • Reading related to the labs


Text book:


William Stallings: Cryptography and Network Security, 8th edition: ISBN: 978-1-292-43748-4

The book is also available as an e-book and can be purchased or rented for a shorter time period. Chalmers and GU students get a 20% discount on the e-book from the publisher when using the code CHALMERSCRYPTOGRAPHY2024 at checkout.

The book is to a large extent followed during the lectures, but some topics are missing or not deep enough so additional material is used in some lectures, see reading list below.

The 7th edition of the book is equally useful in the course, the contents is almost identical. The differences between the editions are listed here. The book also has a companion web page with student resources and useful links if you want to know more about a subject. There is an errata sheet for the book that you may want to check.

The first half of the book is about cryptography and may also be useful in the Cryptography course. It is also useful as a reference to many of the cryptographic primitives we use in network security. It is possible to use the book Network Security Essentials (by William Stallings) which contains the same chapters but with the cryptography part omitted. Although it is half the size, the price is almost the same which is the reason why we recommend the full book here.

Learning objectives

Learning objectives:

  • Have a good understanding of how applications can communicate securely and what tools and protocols exist in order to offer different levels of security
  • Have detailed knowledge and the ability to critically analyze and design secure networks, applications and systems
  • Have a fundamental understanding of what makes systems vulnerable and be able to predict new attack methods before they become a reality
  • Have enough knowledge to evaluate protocols and ability to draw conclusions about the level of security they can offer
  • Understand what impact the selection of different protocols and security architectures can have to an application or a system
  • Have an understanding of research work in the field by reading conference and research reports in related areas

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen: Chalmersand GU


The examination will be in English and the grades are 3, 4, and 5 (for GU G, VG) and based on the exam. To pass the course, all laboratory work and assignments must be passed. No material is allowed at the exam except for an English dictionary in paper form (i.e. no electronic aids).

Signing up for examinations is mandatory to be allowed to take the exam. It is not possible for us to report exam results if you have not signed up. Registration is done in Ladok and can only be done during the sign-up period. GU-students can find more information here and Chalmers-students here.

Examination dates are:

  • Monday   May 27,  2024 - 08:30-12:30      Digital exam
  • Thursday Aug 29,   2024 - 14:00-18:00      Digital exam
  • October - t.b.a.

Course summary:

Date Details Due