This course provides an introduction to the technical foundations of cyber security. It is technical, hands-on, academic and, we hope, fun and interesting.

Why Are We Studying Cyber Security?

Your instructor will have had a good bit to say on the first day of class about why Cyber Security is important. So here we will briefly address the hows and whys of studying Cyber Security here at USNA. The Navy recognizes the need to have officers that are familiar with the fundamentals of Cyber Security. To this end, the Naval Academy formulated a plan to add Cyber Security content to the curriculum. This course is the first step, but your exposure to Cyber Security will not end with your plebe year!

Throughout the course notes, you'll see "in the fleet" boxes like this that describe applications of the topic at hand in the fleet. Some of them are about "big picture" fleet issues, and some of them are about things that you, as a junior officer, may very well have to deal with directly.
Throughout the course notes, you'll see "in the news" boxes like this that describe (and usually link to) recent stories in the news that talk directly about the topic at hand, or that start to dig a little deeper into the topic at hand.
Throughout the course notes, you'll see annotation boxes like this that give extra little bits of information about the subject covered in the notes.

What Are We Studying In This Course?

Cyber Security is a big topic, and it overlaps many disciplines. The August 2009 initial report of the Dean's Cyber Warfare Ad Hoc Committee included the following:
Cyber Warfare is a somewhat unusual topic in that it involves a technical academic core of tightly inter-related subject matter, as well as a wide range of important topics that, while dependent on the technical core for fullest appreciation, are not dependent on each other. Stated another way, cyber warfare is comprised of, first, a foundational component, dealing with a set of interconnected fundamental technical concepts, and, second, a wide range of interdisciplinary topics, touching upon the areas of law, political science, strategy and tactics, policy, ethics, and the study of foreign languages and culture.
SI110 is an introduction to the technical academic core described in the excerpt. The material we cover is organized into three sections:
  1. The Cyber Battlefield
    This portion of the course will teach you about the basic components that constitute what we call "cyberspace". Starting with digital data, the physical computer, operating systems, and programs; and continuing with the Web, the Internet, and both wired and wireless networks.
  2. Models and Tools
    There are some theoretical underpinnings to what it is we are protecting (or attacking) in the cyber domain, and how we make rational decisions about security. Additionally, there are a few broad categories of tools — firewalls, encryption, hashing — that we combine in different ways to meet different security goals.
  3. Cyber Operations
    In this portion of the course we study network recon, network attack, network defense and digital forensics. The final four weeks actually has you and your classmates doing these things — i.e. actually mapping out an opponent's network, actually attacking and defending against attack.
You will find that this organization into the cyber battlefield, models & tools, and cyber operations is very explicit in almost all the course material we provide.

How Do I Succeed In This Course?

You are responsible for the material on this website. You should consult the course calendar after every class meeting. There you will find lecture notes, homework assignments and reading assignments.

In class you need to: bring your laptop, charged but with the power brick; participate fully in discussions and activities, and pay attention during lecture; expect to understand the material and, when you don't, stop the instructor and ask questions.

Outside class you need to: do the homework; read the online lecture notes carefully; seek EI for homework you can't get or lecture material you don't understand; prepare thoroughly for exams.