During this introductory course, geared for students new to cybersecurity, students will be introduced to fundamental security topics. Students will critically examine concepts such as basic networking, system administration, team dynamics and system security as well as identifying and applying basic security hardening techniques. Students will gain practical experience through a virtualized lab environment where they will build and configure a small corporate network.

Faculty Instructors

Faculty Instructors are responsible for administering the course in accordance with the University at Buffalo policies and this syllabus. Faculty Instructors also determine final course grades consistent with the grading policy in this syllabus.

Name Email Chat Username
Dave Murray djmurray@buffalo.edu djmurray
Kevin Cleary kpcleary@buffalo.edu cleary.kevin.p

Student Instructors

Student Instructors are responsible for running the class. Most questions, unless believed to be sensitive, should be directed to a student instructor. Please consult Mattermost or UBLearns for Office Hour meeting information.

Name Email Chat Username Office Hours
Vasu Baldwa vasudevb@buffalo.edu vasudevb Thursdays, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Lucas Crassidis lucascra@buffalo.edu luke Fridays, 4pm-5pm
Anthony JeanPierre aj76@buffalo.edu ant Wednesdays, 10am-11am
Radhika Jois radhikaj@buffalo.edu radhikaj Mondays, 7pm-8pm
Anthony Magrene ammagren@buffalo.edu magrene Tuesdays, 11am-12pm

Student Volunteers

Name Email Chat Username
Rashid Abubeker riabubek@buffalo.edu riabubek
Edward Lynch edwardly@buffalo.edu edwardly
John Ryan jpryan2@buffalo.edu jpryan2
Orly Stein orlystei@buffalo.edu orlystei

Course Resources

Website ubnetdef.org/courses/syssec
Chat Channel chat.ubnetdef.org
Wiki wiki.ubnetdef.org
vCenter Server cdr-vcenter.cse.buffalo.edu
UB VPN buffalo.edu/ubit/service-guides/connecting/vpn/computer.html
You need this to be able to connect to vCenter while off campus or off network.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course a student will be able to… Assessment
Learn Basic Security Concepts and Topics Course
Defend a Machine from Real-time Attackers Course & Competitions
Work Effectively in a Team Project & Competitions
Identify Threats and Vulnerabilities of Systems Course
Effectively Communicate via Written Reports and Oral Presentations Project & Final Presentation

Course Requirements


Attendance for all lectures is required. One absence or late arrival is permitted without penalty. Each additional absence may result in a letter grade reduction in the course. Students arriving late or unprepared may also receive an equal or lesser penalty at the discretion of the instructor. Absences due to illness will be excused if the instructor is notified in advance, and the illness is documented by a physician or healthcare professional.

Competition Participation

All students are required to participate fully in the Lockdown Collegiate Competition (Oct 16) and the Lockdown High School Competition (Dec 4) during the semester. Please notify the instructor as soon as possible if you are unable to participate in either competition due to a conflict. Participation in alternative competitions in lieu of this requirement will be considered on a case by case basis.

Homework Assignments

Homework will be assigned each week, and will be based on the topics in the class schedule. Unless otherwise specified, they will be released and submitted at ublearns.buffalo.edu.

Class Schedule

This schedule is subject to change.

Week Topic Homework
Week 1 Welcome - 1000 mile overview, vSphere, Virtualization TBA
Week 2 Networking TBA
Week 3 Firewalls TBA
Week 4 Windows TBA
Week 5 Linux TBA
Week 6 Services TBA
Week 7 Topic TBD
Guest Lecture: Tim Mongan
Saturday, October 16th, 2021: Lockdown V11
Week 8 Advanced Networking
Guest Lecture: Kevin Cleary
Week 9 Advanced Firewalls TBA
Week 10 Risk Management TBA
Week 11 Penetration Testing TBA
Week 12 DevSec Ops
Guest Lecture: Shanelle Ileto
Week 13 Thanksgiving Break!! TBA
Week 14 Digital Forensics TBA
Saturday, December 4th, 2021: High School Lockdown v6
Week 15 Windows Incident Response Final Project

Getting Assistance

The best way to request assistance is to ask on the Systems Security channel on UBNetDef’s chat server. The instructors and mentors constantly monitor the chat, so it’s likely you will receive a response within 24-hours, if not sooner. If you do not have access to the UBNetDef chat server, please contact an instructor.

Grading Policy

Grading Breakdown

Component Percentage of overall grade
Attendance 10%
Weekly Projects 65%
Final Project 15%
Competitions (2) 10%
Total 100%

Grading Scale

Letter grade Percentage
A ≥ 93%
A- ≥ 90%
B+ ≥ 87%
B ≥ 83%
B- ≥ 80%
C+ ≥ 77%
C ≥ 73%
C- ≥ 70%
D ≥ 65%
F <65%

Course Conduct

Academic Integrity

Students must conduct themselves in a manner that does not violate the University at Buffalo’s Academic Integrity Policy. Students found in violation of the Academic Integrity Policy will receive an F for the course.

Ethics Policy

As a student in cyber security, you are learning tools and given resources that are meant to help protect yourself and others. However, these tools and resources can also be used in malicious or illegal ways. It is imperative that while you are a representative of this class, and even well after, you perform any security education or training strictly inside our internal environment or a controlled and contained environment that you have prepared for yourself. Any activity outside of our internal environment is outside of our control and protection. If you are not sure what you’re doing, it is very easy to do something illegal and/or commit a policy violation without knowing you are (eg. port scanning outside our internal network). If you are unsure if something is allowed or not, contact one of the instructors or mentors. All network traffic inside our infrastructure will be monitored for malicious or suspicious activity and acted upon with severe consequences if such privileges are abused. You are being given an opportunity to learn, please do not waste it.

vCenter Usage

As a part of the class, you are granted permissions to create Virtual Machines on the vCenter environment for educational purposes specified within the context of the class assignments and projects. Any misuse of the environment may result in the immediate failure of the student.

Network Logging Disclaimer

All traffic that occurs within the vCenter environment is being logged for analysis purposes. Traffic captures (pcaps) may be shared with other individuals within UBNetDef for educational purposes only. We highly discourage logging into any personal or social networking websites on a Virtual Machine hosted in the vCenter environment.