Syllabus - CYBR 240: Cyber Defense and Offense


Name Sepehr Amir-Mohammadian
Office CTC 118
Phone (209) 932-3261
Email samirmohammadian at pacific dot edu
Office Hours Tue/Thu 1:00-3:30am, and by e-mail appointment.
Please email to request alternate meeting times outside of scheduled office hours.

Course Basics

Class Hours Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00-11:20am in CTC 214
Prerequisites ECPE 170 or completion of “Low-level Programming”;
COMP 177, ECPE 177 or completion of “Computer Networking” all 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 offers a comprehensive study of the principles and practices of computer system security including operating system security, network security, software security, and web security. Students will learn common threats and vulnerabilities, along with basic principles and techniques when designing a secure system. Hands-on labs will help students gain an understanding on how to think like an adversary, how modern cyber-attacks and defenses work in practice, and how to assess threats and protection mechanisms.

Course Learning Objectives

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  • Identify different phases of cybersecurity assessment.
  • Recognize different sorts of cybersecurity threats.
  • Master the skills needed for hands-on cybersecurity assessment.
  • Apply your knowledge to protect your assets against cybersecurity threats.

Program Learning Outcomes

The MS in Cybersecurity program has identified eleven program learning outcomes that are satisfied by required courses. These program learning outcomes, and the level at which each course satisfies them, is identified in the following table:


CYBR 200

CYBR 210

CYBR 220

CYBR 230

CYBR 240

CYBR 250

CYBR 280

Low Level Programming Languages








Software Reverse Engineering








Operating System Theory
















Cellular and Mobile Technologies








Discrete Math and Algorithms








Cyber Defense








Security Fundamental Principles
















Cybersecurity Law








Communication Skills








D = Developed (learning outcome developed through multiple assignments with extensive feedback)
M = Mastered (learning outcome mastered through a robust assignment; appropriate for graduation)

Note: CYBR 280 (Cyber Security Capstone Project): This student project must demonstrate mastery in at least five different cybersecurity competencies (including cybersecurity law and communication skills)

Course Topics

The course topics are as follows:

  • Introduction to cybersecurity defense and offense
  • Different techniques for information gathering and reconnaissance
  • Conducting cybersecurity assessment through different tests, including:
    • Passive attacks
    • Antivirus bypassing
    • Operating System's access control bypassing
    • Man-in-the-middle attacks
    • Password attacks
    • Web browser exploitation
    • Web application exploitation
    • Various tests on the networking protocols
    • Social engineering
    • ...
  • Protecting assets using firewalls, intrusion detection/protection systems, honeypots, audit logging, etc.

Assignments and Examinations

Final grades will be assigned based on several performance factors. These factors and their quantitative contribution to the final grade are as follows:

  • In-class activities and projects: 60%
  • Technical report and presentation: 20%
  • Midterm exam: 10%
  • Final exam: 10%

Attendance Policy

Class attendance and participation is necessary and expected. There will be numerous activities in class, and these activities cannot be made up outside of class. Participation requires that you are properly prepared for classroom discussions and activities. The only acceptable excuses for missing a class, an assignment due date, or an exam are serious illness, family emergency or important professional, academic or athletic activities. Illness or family emergency may require documentation. Excuses for professional, academic or athletic activities must be approved by the instructor in advance. Students missing a class are responsible for making up the material discussed in that class on their own. Students are responsible for being aware of any announcements made during their absence.

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

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 Director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) for information on how to obtain an Accommodations Request Letter.

3-Step Accommodation Process:

  1. Student meets with the SSD Director and provides documentation and completes registration forms.
  2. Student requests accommodation(s) each semester by completing the Request for Accommodations Form.
  3. Student arranges to meet with his/her professors to discuss the accommodation(s) and to sign the Accommodation Request Letter

To ensure timeliness of services, it is preferable that you obtain the accommodation letter(s) from the Office of SSD during the first week of class. After the instructor receives the accommodation letter, please schedule a meeting with the instructor during office hours or some other mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s).

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is located in the McCaffrey Center, Rm. 137. Phone: 209-946-3221 Email: Online:

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.