Course Syllabus

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change. Instructors will notify students of any changes and students will be responsible for abiding by them. Even if you print this syllabus, please check the online version often.


IST 451: Network Security (3 credits) - Fundamental issues and concepts of network security, network security technologies and protocols, and emerging technologies in network security.

This course focuses on network and information security. Students will learn fundamentals of computer security, formal models of security, aspects of information systems such as access control, hacks/attacks, systems and programs security, intrusion detection, cryptography, networks and distributed systems security, worms and viruses, and other Internet secure applications. Students will develop the skills necessary to formulate and address the security needs of enterprise and personal environments.


  • IST 220
  • SRA 221


By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of information systems security practiced in computer operating systems, distributed systems, networks, and representative applications
  • Gain familiarity with prevalent network and distributed system attacks, defenses against them, and forensics to investigate the aftermath
  • Develop a basic understanding of cryptography, how it has evolved, and some key encryption techniques used today
  • Develop an understanding of security policies (such as authentication, integrity, and confidentiality) as well as protocols to implement such policies in the form of message exchanges


All course-related email, including messages to your instructor(s) and fellow students should be sent within Canvas, using the Inbox. Every attempt will be made for the instructor (or a substitute) to respond to email questions within 24 hours.

Additional instructor information can be found by selecting People and then the Teacher name.

Please note that when you compose an email to your instructor, others will likely be listed as "Teachers" from the Canvas interface. This is misleading because only your instructor, possibly TA/LA's listed here, are monitoring your messages. All of your course communications should be limited to those listed here.


  • Stallings, W., & Brown, L. (2018). Computer security: Principles and practice (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson. ISBN 9780134794105
    • Any version (print, e-text, etc.) is suitable for this class. Access codes are not used, so used texts are also suitable.
  • You will also need access to Practice Labs (voucher license purchase) to work on the lab assignments within that platform.
    • IST 451 PRACTICE LABS ACCESS CODE by PRACTICE LABS - Required (This is listed as REQUIRED and contains only access for this one course)
      IST 451 PRACTICE LABS FULL LIBRARY ACCESS by PRACTICE LABS - Recommended (This book is listed as RECOMMENDED and contains access for all IST courses with Practice Labs. If a student is taking more than one course with Practice Labs, this may be a better value.)

Assignments & Grading

Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Percentage of Final Grade
Labs (Group) x 5 (50 pts each) 20%
Homework (Individual) x 5 (20 pts each) 25%
Term Paper & Presentation (Group): 3 Milestone Activities 30%
Exams (Individual) x 2 (100 pts each) 20%
Class Discussion Participation (Individual) x 6 (10 pts each) 5%
TOTAL 100%

Course Grading Scale

The following are minimum cutoffs for each grade:

  • 93.00% = A
  • 90.00% = A-
  • 87.00% = B+
  • 83.00% = B
  • 80.00% = B-
  • 77.00% = C+
  • 70.00% = C
  • 60.00% = D
  • less than 60.00% = F

Course Policies and Expectations

  • Group work is encouraged in this course. Homework assignments are individual. Labs and term papers are group-based. You should credit persons that have helped by noting the names in the assignments, reports, or papers, and reference to the literature you read.
  • Late penalty is 10% per day. Submissions late more than a week are not accepted. Requests for exceptions, with justifications, should be sent in advance to the grader.
  • Logging into Canvas - Students are expected to login regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.
  • Emailing through Canvas - Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication.
  • Attending virtual meetings - Students are expected to use specified virtual meeting tool(s) for collaboration, meetings, presentations, etc., as needed.

Academic Integrity

Penn State and the College of Information Sciences and Technology are committed to maintaining Penn State's policy on Academic Integrity in this and all other courses. We take academic integrity matters seriously and expect you to become a partner to the University/College standards of academic excellence.

For more information, please review these policies and procedures:

While utilizing additional sources outside of this class is encouraged for gaining a better understanding of course concepts, seeking explicit answers for graded assignments from outside sources (e.g. Course Hero, Chegg, tutoring services like, etc.) is considered CHEATING and will not be tolerated. Sanctions range from failure of the assignment or course to dismissal from the University. Additionally, sharing course content without permission is a violation of copyright and may result in university sanctions and/or legal ramifications. Contact your instructor with questions related to this topic. 

University Policies

Review current information regarding various Penn State policies (such as copyright, counseling, psychological services, disability and military accommodations, discrimination, harassment, emergencies, trade names, etc.) on the University Policies page.

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage (


Find extensive information and links to many Penn State and IST resources (including the Penn State libraries, video conferencing tools, technology and software, writing and research help, and much more) on the Resources page.

Technical Requirements

Standard World Campus computer technical specifications are assumed for this course. Please test your computer for requirements. In addition, a webcam and a headset with a microphone are REQUIRED for the course. These may be used for virtual meetings, virtual office hours, interactions with classmates and your instructor, and group presentations - which are all conducted with virtual meeting tools. No special software is required.


The following schedule outlines the topics covered in this course, along with the associated time frames, readings, activities, and assignments. All due dates reflect Eastern Time (ET). Specifying the time zone ensures that all students have the same deadlines, regardless of where they live.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due