CIS 428 Introduction to Cryptography

Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Time & Place:  TH 11:00 - 12:20 CST 4-211
Final Examination Period:  MONDAY DEC 10 @ 7:15-9:15 PM
Instructor:  Barbara Nostrand
Voice:  x3029
Office:  4-293 CST
Office hours: Mo - Th 10:00 - 11:00 AM

Course Description

Classical cryptosystems and their cryptanalysis,  RSA and other public-key cryptosystems,  pseudo-random sequences,  zero-knowledge protocols,  related ethical and social concerns. 


CIS 575,  MAT 534,  or MAT 541. 

Course Objective

Upon completing this course,  you should be knowledgeable concerning the major technical security challenges in each of the four areas of cryptography,  access control,  protocols,  and software.  In addition,  you should have advanced knowledge in cryptanaylsis,  as evidenced by your work on the two major projects. 

Subject of this Course

Cryptography deals with methods for enciphering messages and data.  Cryptoanalysis is the science of attacking and breaking ciphers.  Cryptology is the union of the two.  This class will cover methods of enciphering - past and present;  cryptanalytic attacks and some examples of modern implementations.  The class will cover the needed mathematical background,  which includes discrete mathematics,  topics in Number Theory (prime numbers,  factorization,  modular arithmetic) and complexity. 

Units covered:

DS6 Discrete probability   2 core hours (of 6)
AL1 Basic algorithmic analysis   2 core hours (of 4)
AL9 Cryptographic algorithms   12 hours
NC3 Network security   3 core hours (of 3)
NC9 Wireless and mobile computing   3 hours
SP5 Risks and liabilities of computer-based systems   3 core hours (of 2)
SP7 Privacy and civil liberties   2 core hours (of 2)
  • Course Overview and Description: We will cover selected security topics in each of the following areas: cryptography, access control, protocols, and software. The emphasis will be on cryptanalysis and software reverse engineering.
  • Prerequisites: CS149 or instructor consent.
  • Required Textbook:
  • Student Learning Objectives: After completing this course you should be knowledgeable concerning the major technical security challenges in each of the four areas of cryptography, access control, protocols, and software. In addition, you should have advanced knowledge in cryptanaylsis and software reverse engineering, as evidenced by your work on the two major projects.

    Class meetings

    Please be sure to attend the correct session of this course. Class time will be used for lecture, discussion, and other challenging activities.  Attendance is required, both physical and mental.  Full participation is expected.  Reading assignments are to be completed before coming to class.  This will better prepare you for asking questions in class, and will facilitate discussion.  Generally, the first meeting each week will be devoted to lecture and discussion and the second class meeting to quizes and discussing programming assignments.  You are expected to complete all homework assignments and projects individually. 

    Course Materials


    In this course,  you learn by doing.  Thus,  you will be asked to solve mathematical problems,  prove theorems,  and complete laboratory projects on a regular basis.  Each of the assignments is intended to introduce new material and may be quite challenging.  All of the assignments will be posted to the web site and should be submitted by the end of the day shown on the schedule.  You will complete some of these assignments with one or more laboratory partners.  Please check the instructions for each assignment for further details. 


    Performance on unnanounced short quizes will contribute to class participation


    There will be two midterm exams and a cumulative final exam.  Some of the examinations may be written at home.  More information will be posted on the web as the examination dates near. 

    Make-up work

    Make-up work will be given/accepted only under the following conditions:

    1. Someone close to you is very ill, dying, or has died.
    2. You are very ill, dying, or have died.

    Verification of just cause and advance consultation with the instructor are required before any make-up work will be considered.  Non-medical "emergencies" will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

    Grading Policy

    Assignments 300
    Examinations 300
    Research Papers 300
    Class participation 100

    Grade Distribution
    1000-930 A 4.00
    929-900 A- 3.70
    899-870 B+ 3.30
    869-830 B 3.00
    829-800 B- 2.70
    799-770 C+ 2.30
    769-730 C 2.00
    729-700 C- 1.70
    699-600 D 1.30
    599- 0 F 1.30

    Collaboration and Academic Integrity

    The Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy holds students accountable for the integrity of the work they submit.  Students should be familiar with the Policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations with regard to proper citation of sources in written work.  The policy also governs the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments as well as the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verifications of participation in class activities.  Serious sanctions can result from academic dishonesty of any sort. 

    Restricted material: Solution guides, pre-written essays and similar materials are "restricted materials". Using such materials will be considered a violation of academic honesty.  You can use any publicly available software library or design tool to help you with your work provided that you are not violating copyright or other legal restrictions or are substantially appropriating a complete piece of software.  If you find a useful design or analysis tool,  please report it to the entire class during the first available project day.  Please be careful to credit the design tools and software libraries that you use in your project documentation. 

    Academic Honesty: If a breach of academic integrity is discovered,  all involved students will receive a 0 for that assignment or exam.  This may alter your course grade even if a course grade has already been assigned and recorded by the registrar.  Further infractions will be dealt with according to college policy. 

    Special Needs and Disabilities

    Syracuse University's Office of Disability Services authorizes special accomodations for students with disabilities.  If you believe that you are a student who may need academic accomodations due to a disablity,  you must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 804 University Ave.,  Room 309,  443-4498 or 443-1371 (TDD only).  Please see me during office hours as soon as possible to discuss your needs.  For more inforamtion about services available to you,  please consult the Ofice of Disablity Services.

    Formal Attendance and Lateness Policy

    Absences: Unavoidable absences do not excuse students from responsibility for course material.  Following a class absence,  you must contact the instructor and attend the next regularly scheduled office hour to receive additional make-up assignments.  These assignments will contribute to the Homework/Quiz/Lab portion of the final grade.  Failure to contact the instructor or turn in the make-up assignment on time will result in a grade of zero for that assignment.  This policy is in effect for unexcused as well as officially excused university absences (e.g.  illness,  religious obligations,  etc.)

    Late assignments: Laboratories and projects are due by the end of the day assigned in the schedule.  If you miss an assignment, you must visit a Help Session with the Teaching Assistant in order to turn it in.  Late Laboratory and Project assignments will loose 10% during the first week that they are turned in late,  and will loose an additional 10% for each additional week that they are late.  In case of officially excused absences,  late Laboratory and Project assignments will begin to loose credit on the day following return to school.  No late work will be accepted after the deadline posted in the schedule

    Final Examination: Attendance during the Final Examination period is mandatory.  Students failing to attend the scheduled final examination will receive a failing grade for the course. 

    Statement on Alcohol and Substance Abuse

    The mission of the university is to educate the whole person.  As an educator,  I am concerned about the wellbeing of my students both in and out of the classroom.  A student who comes to my class while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs,  or the after effects of that usage,  cannot think critically,  nor can they participate meaningfully.  Any type of intoxication or its effects will not be tolerated in my classroom.  If you think you may be having a problem with alcohol or other substances,  please resach out to a member of our university community for help. 

    Notice: Policies in this syllabus are subject to change as deemed necessary by the instructor.
    Last modified: 2008 JAN 21