Introduction to Information Security

Location: Pittsburgh

Semester Offered: Spring

Cross listed Courses:

Course Number Department Units
18-631-RW Electrical and Computer Engineering 12
18-631 Electrical and Computer Engineering 12
14-741 Information Networking Institute 12

Technical and policy foundations of information security, with main objective to enable students to reason about information systems from a security engineering perspective. Topics include elementary cryptography; access control; common software vulnerabilities; common network vulnerabilities; digital rights management; policy and export control law; privacy; management and assurance; and special topics.


Class format

Lecture and project-based

Home department


Target audience

CMU Africa ECE students, ECE and INI grad students

Background required

The course assumes a basic working knowledge of computers, networks, C and UNIX programming as well as an elementary mathematics background. But, it does not assume and prior exposure to topics in computer or communications security. Students lacking technical background (e.g. students without any prior exposure to programming) are expected to catch up through self-study.

Learning objectives

This course primarily aims at providing a level of literacy in information security adequate enough to understand the security implications on a number of diverse domains including software engineering; networking; privacy; and policy.

A secondary objective is to provide a working knowledge of topics such as cryptography, privacy, network security, and infrastructure management, so that students can acquire the necessary background for more advanced security courses.

Faculty and instructors who have taught this course in the past

Edwin Kairu, Limin Jia, Hanan Hibshi, Nicolas Christin