Each student has to work on either a term paper or a term project in this course. Term papers/projects should be technical in nature, appropriate for an audience knowledgable in computer security (at the graduate level). The length of the term paper should be about 5000 words. For term projects you have to give a demonstration of the project to the instructor and provide a 2000 word report along with all source codes. If you are unsure about whether to write a term paper or do a term project, ask the instructor. As a general rule, if you are more of the researchy type, a term paper is more appropriate. On the other hand, if you are somebody who likes to get your hands dirty looking at systems, a term project is more appropriate.

The student is strongly encouraged to work with the instructor in the term paper / term project. For many students this will probably be the first attempt at a serious term paper writing. The instructor is there to help you with your efforts.

Term paper organization format (Minimum requirements)

The final term paper should have an abstract of about 300 words that summarizes (i) the motivation for the work and (ii) the contributions made. It should be followed by a list of keywords. The Introduction section should begin by elaborating on the motivation. Next comes an overview of your work followed by summary of contributions made. The last paragraph of the introduction should describe how the rest of the term paper is organized. A required section in the term paper should be called Related Work that should describe some of the published works on the same topic. The term paper should also have a Conclusion section that (i) summarizes the term paper and (ii) indicates what are some of the avenues of future work along the lines of the term paper. Last but not the least the term paper should contain a set of references.

If you are new to technical writing or would like to brush up your skills,  here  is an excellent document to  help you, courtesy of Professor H.J. Siegel  of C.S.U's ECE department.

Latest Research in Computer Security 

To identify a good topic to work on do some literature review first. If you do not already have a specific topic to work on feel free to select one from the list below.  Survey works make excellent term papers, if executed to the proper technical depth and rigor. If the survey is superficial (that is, it is suitable for the technically challenged) it will not be considered favorably. Typically survey papers should talk about topics that we did not cover in the course. A good survey will not only talk about the best works in that topic but will also contain some discussion about the open challenges in the area. Remember, a good survey paper can be the launching pad for your MS thesis and even PhD dissertation.

Here are some suggestions for term paper and term project topics. Please feel free to choose one from this list. This list is, by no means, exhaustive. There are many interesting projects that the instructor is working on with his Ph.D. students and colleagues such as fraud detection in on-line social networks, intrusion detection in heavy vehicle controller network, intrusion detection in oil and natural gas generation systems, attribute-based access control in health-care information systems, key management in smart grids, embedding keys in physically un-secured systems and de-linking sensitive records in medical systems. You may want to work on these topics specially if you are interested in pursuing an M.S. or Ph.D. thesis in security.

Term Paper Topics
Term Project Topics


Trust in information system security
  • Models of trust
  • Trust and usability
  • Trust management
Trust negotiation and management
Cost models for security
  • Risk measures
  • Damage assessment
  • Cost of implementing security
Secure routing protocols
  • Implementing protocols
  • Simulation of protocols
  • Protocols to discover rogue nodes in MANETS
Security in mobile and pervasive environment
  • Attacks specific to mobile, ad hoc networks (MANETS)
  • Secure routing protocols for MANETS
  • Security of RFID technology
Authentication protocols for distributed systems
Critical infrastructure protection
  • Security of public telephone networks
  • Security of power line grids
  • Security of financial networks
  • Security in emergency response
Digital forensics technologies
Network survivability
Designing network vulnerability scanners
Secure process migration
Attack Visualization tools
Security in Internet commerce
Key distribution and management protocol
Survivable transactions
On-line certificate protocols
Secure electronic voting
Voting protocols
Digital rights management
Anonymizing protocols
Novel techniques for fair exchange in E-commerce / M-commerce
Privacy enhancing technology
Access control models beyond MAC / DAC
Protocols for securing audit logs
Privacy - Models, protocols and techniques
  • Anonymous protocols
  • K-anonymity / L-diversity and beyond
  • Privacy in health care
  • Privacy in pervasive enviornment
  • Privacy and digital forensics


Once you have picked a topic that sounds interesting search for publications in the related area at the main computer security venues:

Term paper / Term project Evaluation

The term paper will be evaluated on its technical merit and depth, description of and comparison with related work, originality and presentation, as is typically done in peer-reviewed conferences and journals. For term projects, the emphasis will be on functionality and documentation. Source code for term projects must be emailed to the instructor archived in a single file. For projects implemented on MS Windows machines, the archive should also include the executable code. The archive should include clear instructions for compiling and executing the code (including platforms on which to run the programs; the instructor has access to the following platforms - Linux, Mac OS (10.3 or higher), Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

For term projects, please keep in mind that the instructor may not have access to you when grading. Thus, if your programs fail to compile properly on the specified platform you will be getting a failing grade on the term project.

Other Requirements

The student shall work individually on the term paper / term project. The student shall identify a topic by the end of the second week of classes (please refer to the course web page under schedule for important deadlines). The student shall discuss the topic with the instructor before starting work on it. A two page abstract of the term paper is due by the end of the fourth week. This abstract should adequately motivate the topic and describe the work to be performed for the term paper. Some intial references (about 5) should also be included in the two page writeup.

Term papers should be submitted electronically by email to the instructor in PDF format.