ECS 235B: Foundations of Computer & Information Security

ECS 235B
Foundations of Computer & Information Security
Effective Term
2016 Fall Quarter
Learning Activities
Lecture - 3.0 hours
Project (Term Project)
Theoretical foundations of methods used to protect data in computer and communication systems. Access control matrix and undecidability of security; policies; Bell-LaPadula, Biba, Chinese Wall models; non-interference and non-deducibility; information flow and the confinement problem. Not open for credit to students who have taken ECS 235.
ECS 235A; (ECS 120 and ECS 150 recommended.)
Credit Limitation
Not open for credit to students who have taken ECS 235.
Enrollment Restrictions
Pass One and Pass Two open to Graduate Students in Computer Science only.

Summary of Course Content
I. Introduction: what is security, policies, risk analysis, humans and procedural/operational security; principles of secure design

II. Foundations: access control matrix, Harrison-Ruzzo-Ullman result, Take-Grant Protection Model, other models

III. Policies and precision; policy languages

IV. Confidentiality policies: Bell-LaPadula, System Z

V. Integrity policies: Biba, Lipners access control matrix model, Clark-Wilson

VI. Hybrid policies: Chinese Wall, Clinical Information Systems Security, Role-based access control

VII. Non-interference and non-deducibility

VIII. Information flow and the confinement problem

IX. Theory of malicious logic: computer viruses, computer worms


Paper surveying a topic in computer security in depth (expected length 20 pages) or a project exploring some aspect of the foundations of computer security. These may be individual or group efforts.

Illustrative Reading
M. Bishop, Computer Security: Art and Science, Addison-Wesley 2003 ; various papers

Potential Course Overlap
This course does not overlap with any other course. ECS 153, which mentions one result and gives a very high-level view of some of the models, does not discuss the details of those results, their proofs, or the underlying principles presented in this course, and focuses instead on applications.

Course Category