USC Informatics Program 523 (INF 523): Assurance in Cyberspace - Fall 2019

Lecture Friday - 1PM to 4:20 PM in OHE 120
Clifford Neuman


The final Exam for INF523 will be held on
Wednesday Deceber 18th
from 11AM to 1PM


Course Materials

Homework Assignments

  • Assignment #1 - Due 20 Spetember 2019

    Lecture Slides

  • Slides for Lecture 1 - ppt
  • Slides for Lecture 2 - ppt
  • Slides for Lecture 3 - ppt
  • Slides for Lecture 4 - ppt
  • Slides for Lecture 5 - ppt
  • Slides for Lecture 6 - ppt
  • Slides for Lecture 7 - ppt
  • Lecture Videos and Discussion forum at DEN D2L

    Course Summary

    Assurance as the basis for believing an information system will behave as expected. Approaches to assurance for fielding secure information systems that are fit for purpose. Recommended preparation: Prior degree in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, management information systems, and/or mathematics. Some background in computer security preferred.

    The definition of security for a system is given by the security policy. A system is “secure” only insofar as it correctly implements the security policy. But flaws in a system’s design and implementation may create vulnerabilities that allow an attacker to violate that policy, and the complexity of computer systems make it difficult to verify that a system’s design and implementation are free of flaws. In fact, the current state-of-the-art in system development is incapable of “proving” that a system of more than trivial complexity is secure.

    Because absolute proof about the security of a system is (at least with current technology) unobtainable, a system’s “assurance case” – the argument that the system correctly implements the security policy – is formed from a body of supporting evidence generated at different stages of the system lifecycle. This course will explore different techniques and methods for creating the assurance case.

    Students will develop the following abilities

    Instructors and Assistants

    Reading Assignnments

    Course Grade Components

    A letter grade will be assigned for each assignment, project, or exam. The individual assignment, project, and exam scores are based on student performance relative to other students in the class. The final course grade will be determined by weighted calculation from the component grades, and may be adjusted upward if the students participation is exemplary. The components of the final course grade are:

    Academic Integrity

    Exams from Prior years