(CS 4710) Security of Mobile and Wireless Systems

Spring 2020

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 from 11.45 - 1.25 pm and Thursdays from 2:50 - 4:30 pm in ISEC 655 Forsyth 201

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: Tuesdays from 2 - 3 pm in ISEC 608 or by prior appointment

Teaching Assistants: Domien Schepers [email protected], Harshad Sathaye [email protected] (TA office hours: Wednesdays 12 - 1 pm ISEC 655)

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 35%
Lab exercises and Assignments 20%
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
07 Jan Course logistics, Basic Security Notions  
09 Jan Wireless Basics  
14 Jan Wireless Basics  
16 Jan Jamming  
21 Jan Jamming, Project Ideas One on one discussions for projects this week
23 Jan lab Lab Exercise 1 (Intro to SDR)  
28 Jan Wireless Channel-based Security  
30 Jan Project pitches Lab 1 due
04 Feb GNSS Security  
06 Feb GNSS Security lab Lab 2 out
11 Feb Secure Localization  
13 Feb Secure Localization Lab 2 due
18 Feb Paper presentation #1  
20 Feb Paper presentation #1  
25 Feb Broadcast authentication  
27 Feb lab Lab 3: Ring the bell  
03 Mar Spring Break (No classes)  
05 Mar Spring Break (No classes)  
10 Mar lab Lab 3: Ring the bell  
12 Mar 802.11 wireless security  
17 Mar cancelled COVID-19  
19 Mar 802.11 wireless security  
24 Mar 802.11 wireless security  
26 Mar lab Lab 4: WEP/WPA2 cracking Lab 3 due
31 Mar Cellular networks  
02 Apr Cellular networks  
07 Apr Paper presentations #2 Lab 4 due
09 Apr Paper presentations #2  
14 Apr Reserve day  
16 Apr Final Project presentation (3 hr slot)  


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).