18-732 (Secure Software Systems)
Poor software design and engineering are the root causes of most security vulnerabilities in deployed systems today. Moreover, with code mobility now commonplace--particularly in the context of web technologies and digital rights management--system designers are increasingly faced with protecting hosts from foreign software and protecting software from foreign hosts running it. This class takes a close look at software as a mechanism for attack, as a tool for protecting resources, and as a resource to be defended. Topics covered include the software design process; choices of programming languages, operating systems, databases and distributed object platforms for building secure systems; common software vulnerabilities, such as buffer overflows and race conditions; auditing software; proving properties of software; software and data watermarking; code obfuscation; tamper resistant software; and the benefits of open and closed source development.
Prerequisites: 18-730; Skills in operating systems and programming languages (C and Java), and senior or graduate standing.