(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 and Fridays from 09:50 - 11.30 pm over Zoom. Meeting link available on Canvas

Canvas: All course related assignment submissions will happen on Canvas.

Piazza: All discussions 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 11.30 am - 12.30 pm over Zoom (link available through Canvas) or by prior appointment

Teaching Assistants: Narmeen Shafqat <@husky.neu.edu>, Harshad Sathaye sathaye.h@husky.neu.edu (TA office hours: Thursdays 10 - 11 am over Zoom (link available on Canvas))

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
19 Jan Course logistics, Basic Security Notions  
22 Jan Wireless Basics  
26 Jan Wireless Basics  
29 Jan Jamming  
02 Feb Jamming, Project Ideas One on one discussions for projects this week
05 Feb lab Lab Exercise 1 (Intro to SDR)  
09 Feb Wireless Channel-based Security  
12 Feb Project pitches Lab 1 due
16 Feb GNSS Security  
19 Feb GNSS Security lab Lab 2 out
23 Feb Secure Localization  
26 Feb Secure Localization Lab 2 due
02 Mar Paper presentation #1  
05 Mar Paper presentation #1  
09 Mar Broadcast authentication  
12 Mar lab Lab 3: Ring the bell  
16 Mar lab Lab 3: Ring the bell  
19 Mar 802.11 wireless security  
23 Mar 802.11 wireless security  
26 Mar 802.11 wireless security  
30 Mar lab Lab 4: WEP/WPA2 cracking Lab 3 due
02 Apr Cellular networks  
06 Apr Cellular networks  
09 Apr Paper presentations #2  
13 Apr Paper presentations #2 Lab 4 due
16 Apr Final Project presentation  
20 Apr Reserve day  


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).