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System and Software Security


Admission requirements

Assumed prior knowledge

This course aims at students who want to gain a deep understanding of modern security issues in computer systems. We expect that students already have some background knowledge in security (e.g. have taken the Security course at the Bachelor level) and computer architectures (e.g. have taken the Computer Architecture course).


Computer systems that communicate, process or store personal or company-critical data, need to be protected against attacks that undermine their security. These computer systems are used in diverse applications, ranging from low-energy sensor nodes in the Internet of Things, to high-performance servers in data centers. Therefore, security mechanisms need to adhere to the constraints imposed by the system with respect to energy consumption, performance, cost, etc. This course will concentrate on attacks and mitigations at the software and the hardware (processor) level.

The first part of the course will focus on vulnerabilities and their detections at the software level. We will overview the most important code vulnerability types and will study the state-of-the-art techniques for identifying security issues at the software level, e.g., fuzzing, static and dynamic security analysis. We will also review the secure software development lifecycle.

The second part of the course covers attacks and protection mechanisms that specifically focus on the hardware of computer systems. We will study vulnerabilities in the computer architecture and the memory, as well as hardware-based roots of trust and security architectures.

Course objectives

After this course, you will have knowledge about security vulnerabilities in software and computer systems. You will also learn about the latest developments in the system and software security research, and you will be able to evaluate it critically. In addition, you will have hands-on experience with state-of-art security tools and practices, and you will have tackled security issues in real systems by planning and executing your own security project.


The most recent timetable can be found at the Computer Science (MSc) student website.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, peer presentation classes, workshops.

Course load

Total hours of study: 168 hrs. (= 6 EC). Of those (ca.):

  • 14 hrs of lectures

  • 14 hrs of peer presentations and workshops

  • 40 hrs of research literature analysis

  • 100 hrs of project work

Assessment method

Final grade = 30% paper written analysis&presentation grade + 70% project work&report&presentation grade (no exam)


  • Paper analysis and presentation in a group of 2-3: papers/topics are proposed by the teachers

  • Project for ca. 100 hours in a group of 2-3. Projects are defined by students jointly with lecturers, e.g., a replication study or propose a new application of the tool. Students present the project results, and also submit a short report (with a small literature review, motivation, project overview and discussion of results).

Reading list

There is no textbook. Recommended readings (research papers, etc.) will be announced on Brightspace.


  • You have to sign up for courses and exams (including retakes) in uSis. Check this link for information about how to register for courses.


  • Contact the lecturers via email.