(CS7780) Special Topics on Networks: Wireless Security

Spring 2018

This course is also cross listed as CS 6710 - Wireless Networks for students of the BSCS program with concentration in Cyber Operations.


Time and Location: Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:35 - 3:15 pm in Forsyth Building 236

Piazza: All course related assignment submissions and interactions will take place over Piazza (Note: We will use the same Piazza class for both CS7780 and CS6710). Enroll here!

Office hours: Fridays immediately after the course until 16:00

Course Description

Recent years have seen massive deployment of wireless devices and technologies around us. They are deployed in a wide variety of systems such as telephony, navigation, sensor networks, critical infrastructures etc. With the advent of the Internet of Things and autonomous cyber-physical systems, the proliferation of these wireless systems are only bound to increase. The broadcast nature of wireless technologies and the increased availabiloty of software defined radios have not only improved quality of life but pose significant security challenges. In particular, the course would cover the following topics:

  • Basic security notions
  • Wireless communication basics
  • Jamming/Anti-jamming techniques, eavesdropping, insertion/modification, wireless channel based Key Agreement
  • Secure localization and proximity verification
  • Secure synchronization
  • Security of GNSS systems (GPS, Galileo, Glonass)
  • Security and privacy of 802.11 and Bluetooth technologies
  • Broadcast authentication techniques
  • Key distribution in sensor networks
  • Security of modern communication systems: GSM/UMTS/LTE

Course Objective: After this course, the students should be able to describe and classify security goals and attacks in modern wireless networks. They should be able to identify the unique security implications of these effects and how to mitigate security issues associated with them.


Fundamental ideas in wireless communications and security notions preferable. Basic Matlab or Python programming skills will help in a couple of take home assignments (however not mandatory). Additional pre-requisites apply as mentioned in the respective course catalog entries.

Reading Materials

There won’t be any single text book for this course. Every lecture will contain pointers to recommended reading material. For students who are not familiar with relevant background, the following links/textbooks may help.


Paper summaries / Discussion 37.5%
Assignments 12.5%
Project pitch 10%
Project report 20%
Project presentation 20%

The assignments, paper summaries and the project are to be executed in small teams of 2.


Note: The schedule is tentative and can change due to weather, travel, syllabus coverage speed etc.

Date Topic Readings Notes
09th Jan Introduction, Course logistics    
12th Jan Wireless Security Basics    
16th Jan Jamming    
19th Jan GNSS Security   Assignment 1 available
23rd Jan Project ideas / GNSS Security    
26th Jan Jamming papers discussion    
30th Jan GNSS papers discussion    
2nd Feb Secure Proximity Verification    
6th Feb Project Proposal pitches    
9th Feb Related Paper discussion    
13th Feb Secure Localization    
16th Feb Related Paper discussion    
20th Feb No class    
23rd Feb Channel based Key establishment    
27th Feb Intermediate Project Presentations    
2nd Mar Intermediate Project Presentations    
6th Mar Spring Break    
9th Mar Spring Break    
13th Mar Broadcast authentication techniques    
16th Mar 802.11 security    
20th Mar Related Paper Discussion    
23rd Mar GSM/UMTS/LTE security    
27th Mar Related Paper Discussion    
30th Mar Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN)    
3rd Apr Related Paper discussion    
6th Apr Guest Lecture (TBD)    
10th Apr Device Pairing    
13th Apr Related paper discussion    
17th Apr Wireless signal fingerprinting    
20th Apr Related paper discussion    
24th Apr Final Project Presentations    
27th Apr Final Project Presentations    


This course is largely adopted from similar courses offered at ETH Zurich (Prof. Srdjan Capkun), CMU (Prof. Patrick Tague) and EPFL (Prof. Jean Pierre Hubaux).