Course Syllabus

Cyber 440 – Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations Capstone

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.

This course is currently being developed or significantly revised. Please check back later in the semester for a full syllabus and more accurate estimate of the course assignments.


CYBER 440: Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations Capstone (3 credits per semester)

This three-credit advanced course provides students with a practical experience in cybersecurity analysis. Students will be presented with several analytic frameworks that are prevalent in industry. Additionally, they will analyze a complex cybersecurity incident from multiple sources of cybersecurity data. They will compile their analysis using one of the analytic frameworks and present their findings in a manner appropriate for technical and high-level audiences. This is a key course in the Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations curriculum; it is the capstone course that all students will take. It brings together experiences from courses in cyber technology, analytic methods and tools, as well as security management. Topics will include review of analytic frameworks, review of specific cyber technologies, briefing methods and report writing. By the end of the course, the students will have analyzed complex cyber data, documented their intended response to the incident(s) and presented their findings to a diverse technical and management audience.


  • CYBER 342W
  • ENGL 202C or D
  • 7th Semester Standing


This is the capstone course for the cybersecurity major. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Conduct a thorough analysis of cybersecurity data from several different data sources.
  2. Document specific technical findings after the analysis has been completed.
  3. Work with a team to conduct a multi-sourced analysis of a complex cybersecurity incident, with realistic data volumes and signal-to-noise ratios.
  4. Present findings of their team investigations in a manner that is appropriate for a high level corporate executive (e.g. CISO, CIO, or other C-suite decision-maker)


  • TBD

Office hours

  • (one hour per hour of instructional time)
  • Schedule and location of office hours


  • Teaching, Instructional and Learning Assistants’ contact information
  • and office hours schedule


  • No materials are required for purchase for this course

Technical Requirements

This course requires you to complete many tasks ON YOUR OWN COMPUTER.

  • If you do not have a computer, please see the instructor as soon as possible for some options.
  • 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.
  • You will need access to a computer where you have full administrative rights, ability to install virtual machines via a Type II Hypervisor (VMWare or Virtual Box) and the ability to install and run a number of different analytic software applications - memory analysis tools, packet analysis tools and other similar software. If you do not have your own computer for which you have administrative rights and sufficient hardware capacity, please contact the instructor.
    • You will be provided instructions and assistance for configuring your computer, setting up virtual machines and installing software to complete the tasks of this course.
  • Recommended:
    • Windows 10 or Mac OS.
    • i7 CPU, quad-core at at least 2.0 GHz.
    • At least 16 GB of RAM.
    • At least 200 GB of free disk space - and more is better. You will need to download over 140 GB of data for this course and you will need perhaps double that amount of space to manage the files and compressed archives.
  • The standard World Campus computer technical specifications are a minimum for this course. Please test your computer for requirements.

Assignments & Grading

Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Percentage of Final Grade
Individual analytic lab exercises 50%
Team project analysis and presentation* 20%
Discussions 10%
Examinations 20%
TOTAL 100%

*A portion of this grade will be allocated to team member reviews of individual student performance.

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

Ethical Use of Course Content

The content provided in this course can be used for educational purposes to understand cybersecurity concepts and techniques. It can also be used for nefarious purposes. Students are expected to use the course content for their own edification only and shall not apply this knowledge except in the classroom, on specific systems (such as the virtual lab) and only for the purposes defined by the instructor.

Any use of the course’s content that is performed without expressed, written permission of the system’s owner may be in violation of Penn State University policies as well as local, state and federal laws. The instructor will cooperate fully with all university investigations and the requests of all law enforcement agencies in investigations against students in the course.

Late Work

Late work is unacceptable in the “real world”.  A due date is a due date.  I will not accept late work in this course without documented and substantiated reasoning.

Use of Canvas

Students are expected to login regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc. Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication. Students are instructed to NOT email the instructor or teaching assistant(s) directly.

Emergency Notifications

PSUAlert is available at PSUAlert is Penn State’s emergency notification system for students, faculty and staff. The system will be used to alert members of Penn State’s campus communities of emergencies, campus closings and other urgent information. Using this portal, students, faculty and staff can choose to receive PSUAlert messages by text message, voice message and e‑mail. We recommend that students enroll in this system.

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.


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