COMP 178 - Computer Network Security - Spring 2024


Name Tapadhir Das
Office CTC 119
Email tdas at pacific dot edu
Name Jeff Shafer
Office Anderson Hall 230
Email jshafer at pacific dot edu


Name Vivek Kumar Maheshwari
Office Hours TBD
In-person at SOECS Student Support Center

Course Support

Canvas Site
Office Hours Dr. Das:
Mon 1-2pm (Zoom Only at
Thur 3-4pm (CTC 119)
Office hours by appointment only

Dr. Shafer:
In-person: Tue 2-3:30pm, Wed 1-3pm, Thur 1-3pm (Anderson 230)
Zoom meeting: By appointment at

Course Basics

Class Hours Section 1: Tuesday, Thursday, 8:25-9:45am
Section 2: Tuesday, Thursday, 10-11:20am
Prerequisites ECPE 170 or COMP 175 with a ‘C’ or better
Textbook No textbook is required for this course.
Optional reference books may be suggested throughout the semester, and I welcome feedback on any online/print references you find useful!
Credits 3

Course Description

This course is an examination of computer security from a defensive and offensive perspective. Topics include attack methods used by threat actors (including scanning, exploits, privilege escalation, malware, and social engineering methods), their detection, and their prevention by network and host-based techniques. Additionally, cryptographic techniques are introduced in order to provide secure communications channels that guarantee message confidentiality, authenticity, and integrity.

Course Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Use modern tools for network scanning and reconnaissance
  • Perform entry-level penetration testing against a wide range of target systems
  • Configure firewalls and intrusion detection systems to alert and block attacks
  • Identify and defend against social engineering attacks
  • Understand modern network protocols at a level sufficient to develop next-generation network security tools

Course Topics

The topics covered in this course include:

  • Network protocols
  • Scanning and reconnaissance
  • Penetration testing
  • Firewalls and intrusion detection systems
  • Social engineering
  • Cryptography

Assignments and Examinations

This course will be composed of the following elements:

  • Laboratory Assignments (in-class and take-home) (70% of course grade)
  • Projects (20% of course grade)
  • Presentations (10% of course grade)

Attendance Policy

Regular class attendance is strongly encouraged.  Students who miss class meetings are responsible for keeping up with the class.  The course Canvas site will be used to assist in instruction. You are responsible for keeping up with projects, labs, lecture notes, announcements, and other materials that may be posted there.

Grading Policy

Grades for the course are assigned on the scale below:

Grade A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
Points > 93 93-90 < 90-87 < 87-83 < 83-80 < 80-77 < 77-73 < 73-70 < 70-67 < 67-60 60

Late submission policy:

  • Assignments submitted less than 24 hours late will be accepted without penalty.
  • Assignments submitted from 1 to less than 4 days late will be accepted at a 10% penalty.
  • Assignments submitted 4 days late, or beyond, will not be accepted.

Recording Policy

All live class presentations and discussions during this course may be recorded. As a student in this class, please note that your participation in live class discussions may therefore also be recorded. By participating in a live class discussion you are giving your consent to this recording. Access to these recordings will be limited to faculty and the students enrolled in the class and to assist enrolled students who cannot attend the live session.

Student Work

Please note that copies of student work may be retained by the instructor to assess how the learning objectives of the course are met. Further, the MOSS (Measure of Software Similarity) system may be used to compare student submissions in an automated fashion.

Honor Code

The Honor Code at the University of the Pacific calls upon each student to exhibit a high degree of maturity, responsibility, and personal integrity. Students are expected to:

  • Act honestly in all matters
  • Actively encourage academic integrity
  • Discourage any form of cheating or dishonesty by others
  • Inform the instructor and appropriate university administrator if she or he has a reasonable and good faith belief and substantial evidence that a violation of the Academic Honesty Policy has occurred.

Violations will be referred to and investigated by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. If a student is found responsible, it will be documented as part of her or his permanent academic record. A student may receive a range of penalties, including failure of an assignment, failure of the course, suspension, or dismissal from the University. The Academic Honesty Policy is located in Tiger Lore and online at

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability who requires accommodations, please contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for information on how to register for services and request accommodations.

  1. Student must register for services by completing the intake and registration process and provide supportive documentation found at
  2. Student requests accommodation(s) letters each semester online through the SSD Student Portal found at
  3. As needed, student arranges to meet with their professor to discuss the accommodation(s).

To ensure timeliness of services, it is preferable that you obtain the accommodation email letter(s) from SSD within the first two weeks of classes starting.

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is located in the McCaffrey Center, Second Floor.
Phone: 209-946-3221

Nondiscrimination Policy

The University of the Pacific does not discriminate in the administration of any of its educational programs, admissions, scholarships, loans, athletics, or other University activities or programs on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, handicap, sexual orientation or preference, sex or age.

COVID-19 Pandemic

Students in this course are required to comply with the current COVID-19 university policies. Please contact with any questions.

If there are significant changes in pandemic conditions, it may be necessary to change some of the policies or structure of this course. If this becomes necessary, a revised syllabus will be distributed through the course Canvas site. Check the Canvas site regularly for announcements.