(CS 4710) Security of Mobile and Wireless Systems

Spring 2019

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: Thursdays from 6 - 9 pm in Hayden Hall 221

Piazza: All course related assignment submissions and interactions will take place over Piazza (Note: We will use the same Piazza class for both CS4710 and CS6710). Enroll here!

Office hours: Wednesdays from 3 - 4 pm in ISEC 608

Teaching Assistant: Harshad Sathaye [email protected]

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.


The grades will be based on paper summary reports, presentations and project work during the course of the semester.

Paper summaries / Discussion 45%
Assignments 10%
Project pitch 5%
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 Notes
10th Jan Course logistics, basic security notions, wireless basics  
17th Jan Jamming Assignment #1 out
24th Jan GNSS Security / Project ideas / Paper presentations #1 One-on-one discussions begin
31st Jan GNSS Security / Paper presentations #1 Attack demonstrations / Assignment #1 deadline
7th Feb Wireless channel-based security, Project pitches  
14th Feb Secure localization, distance bounding  
21st Feb Wireless channel-based security, Paper presentations #2  
28th Feb Paper presentations #2  
7th Mar Spring Break  
14th Mar Broadcast authentication, Key distribution  
21st Mar 802.11 wireless security  
28th Mar WPA/WEP security (Practical assignment #2)  
4th Apr Cellular networks and security issues Practical assignment #2 report deadline
11th Apr Paper presentations #3  
18th Apr Guest lecture / Paper presentations #3  
25th 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).