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HSEC 690
Cyber Warfare & Cyber Terrorism

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Intensive study in specific areas of homeland security with regards to nation-state cyber warfare. This course addresses the definition of and challenges involved in "cyber warfare" as a subset of information warfare within the context of trans-national state-sponsored actors. To understand these concepts, this seminar will provide an overview of cyber-attack history, the difficulty with cyber-attribution, the myth of cyber-terrorism, the very real but poorly understood areas of cyber-espionage and cyber-sabotage. This course is not recommended for students from other disciplines interested purely in cyber security.

This course is not exhaustive but it is intensive. The purpose of this class is NOT to train the student in "how to hack computers." Students will learn the current state of cyber-attack, cyber-defense, and cyber-policy. Most importantly, the student will learn how to discern plausible cyber security threats from the improbable and hyperbolic. Do not enroll in your first year as this course depends on knowledge from 601 introduction course and the Cyber Crime course in the Spring semester.

Cyber Attack Visualizations

Required Course Materials

In addition to keeping up with contemporary cyber events, students are expected to read a number of published books, journal articles, and reports for the course. The amount of reading assigned at a graduate level is more than undergraduate studies. Successful students have been able to achieve near 100% comprehension without reading every printed word on the page. Truly engaged, careful, thoughtful reading usually involves some form of notes, bookmarks, or highlighting. During the class, students will be expected to provide intelligent answers to questions posed and insightful commentary based on the assigned readings. Having a good resource of notes or bookmarks will assist you in providing this commentary for class discussion.

This course is designed to be affordable ($48), online, and paperless. All readings are available in an electronic format which is preferred due to the powerful search, highlighting, and annotation capabilities. However, students may purchase and consume readings in any preferred format (digital, hardcover, paperback, audiobook).

$13 Kindle
$14 dead trees
FREE on YouTube
We Steal Secrets


Your final grade in this course will be highly dependent on your ability to keep up with the required readings, comprehend the material presented, coherently articulate your analysis of cyber security topics in written assignments, and participate in discussions both in the classroom and online. You will not be graded on your ability to "hack" or program computers. In fact, many of the most successful students in previous semesters have had very little computer knowledge prior to this course.

10% Briefings
25% Weekly Insights
30% In-Class Participation
35% Cyber Policy Paper
NO Late submission after due date
NO Extra Credit / Make-Up Assignments

Active Participation

Your active participation is critically important to this course; this cannot be stressed enough. If you fall behind on readings, you will not be equipped to participate in class which will adversely affect your grade. Students with excellent written submissions that hardly speak up in class or online will likely fail this course. While there is no minimum number of weekly interactions required, successful students typically interact a half-dozen times between in-class and online discussions.

I do not "take away" points

From "Dear Student" by Art Carden (Forbes, Jan 2012):

One of the popular myths of higher education is that professors are sadists who live to inflict psychological trauma on undergraduates. Perhaps you believe that we pick students at random and then schedule all our assignments in such a way as to make those students' lives as difficult as possible [...] First, I do not "take off" points. You earn them. The difference is not merely rhetorical, nor is it trivial. In other words, you start with zero points and earn your way to a grade [...] Second, this means that the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that you have mastered the material. It is not on me to demonstrate that you have not.