CS 194: Intro to CyberSecurity

Fall 2019

Instructor: Jason Polakis, polakis [at] uic [dot] edu
Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday. 15:30-16:45 in Lecture Center A4
Office Hours: Thursday 14:00-15:00 in SEO 1239


This course will introduce undergraduate students from a wide variety of backgrounds to basic concepts of computer security and online privacy. The course will follow a very practical approach for familiarizing students with common security/privacy issues and widely deployed tools and technologies. The topics covered will be from a wide variety of topics, including basic fundamentals of encryption in the Web, password management, spam and phishing, social networks and privacy leakage. At the end of the course, students are expected to have a better understanding of common security/privacy risks that users face, to have improved their security posture in everyday activities and, finally, to obtain an initial exposure to cybersecurity-related research.


There are no course prerequisites. The course does not require prior programming knowledge, but students are expected to have experience using computers for straightforward tasks. While the coursework will not include programming assignments, it will contain a series of small assignments with technical tasks that will help expose students to a high-level view of core security/privacy concepts.

Class Participation

Class participation is strongly encouraged. We will be using iClickers for our classroom response system. These can be purchased at the bookstore or online. Older versions are fine, though you may not use a computer/tablet/phone version because of latency issues.


Grades will be determined as follows (subject to change):

  • Assignments: 40%
  • Final Exam: 40%
  • Class participation: 20%

Course Policies

Electronic Communication Policy

All electronic communication should take place on Piazza unless emails are specifically requested by the instructor. The instructor may, from time to time, respond to emails, but a response to one email does not guarantee a response to a second. Use Piazza!

Attendance Policy

Class attendance is strongly encouraged, as participation constitutes a significant portion of the grade.

Collaboration Policy

Collaboration is not allowed unless mentioned explicitly in an assignment. Unauthorized collaboration is academic misconduct and will be treated as such.

Late Policy

Assignments are due as specified on each assignment page. Late assignments will not be accepted without prior approval from Prof. Polakis.

Academic Integrity Policy

As an academic community, UIC is committed to providing an environment in which research, learning, and scholarship can flourish and in which all endeavors are guided by academic and professional integrity. All members of the campus community–students, staff, faculty, and administrators–share the responsibility of insuring that these standards are upheld so that such an environment exists. Instances of academic misconduct by students will be handled pursuant to the Student Disciplinary Policy.

The following are examples of academic misconduct.

  • Claiming someone else’s work as your own.
  • Searching for existing solutions to assignments.
  • Falsifying program output.
  • Working with anyone outside your group, other than the instructor.
  • Sharing code or solutions with anyone outside your group, other than the instructor.

Religious Holidays

Students who wish to observe their religious holidays

shall notify the faculty member by the tenth day of the semester of the date when they will be absent unless the religious holiday is observed on or before the tenth day of the semester. In such cases, the student shall notify the faculty member at least five days in advance of the date when he/she will be absent. The faculty member shall make every reasonable effort to honor the request, not penalize the student for missing the class, and if an examination or project is due during the absence, give the student an exam or assignment equivalent to the one completed by those students in attendance. If the student feels aggrieved, they may request remedy through the campus grievance procedure.

Academic Deadlines

See the academic calendar.

Grievance Procedures

UIC is committed to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity involving students and employees. Freedom from discrimination is a foundation for all decision making at UIC. Students are encouraged to study the University's Nondiscrimination Statement. Students are also urged to read the document Public Formal Grievance Procedures. Information on these policies and procedures is available on the University web pages of the Office of Access and Equality.

Course Evaluation

Because student ratings of instructors and courses provide very important feedback to instructors and are also used by administrators in evaluating instructors, it is extremely important for students to complete confidential course evaluations online known as the Campus Program for Student Evaluation of Teaching evaluation. You will receive an email from the Office of Faculty Affairs inviting you to complete your course evaluations and will receive an email confirmation when you have completed each one.

For more information, please refer to the UIC Course Evaluation Handbook.

Results for the “six core questions” will be published on the UIC course evaluation website.

Last Modified: August 2019