Instructor Information

George Kalb

Work Phone: 410-765-8727

Email: Phone: (410) 765-8727

Course Information

Course Description

While most of the world is preoccupied with high-profile network-based computer intrusions, this online course examines the potential for computer crime and the protection mechanisms employed in conjunction with the embedded computers that can be found within non-networked products (e.g., vending machines, automotive onboard computers, etc.). This course provides a basic understanding of embedded computer systems: differences with respect to network-based computers, programmability, exploitation methods, and current intrusion protection techniques, along with material relating to computer hacking and vulnerability assessment. The course materials consist of a set of eight study modules and five casestudy experiments (to be completed at a rate of one per week) and are augmented by online discussion forums moderated by the instructor. This course also includes online discussion forums that support greater depth of understanding of the materials presented within the study modules.


EN.605.202 Data Structures; EN.695.601 Foundations of Information Assurance, a basic understanding and working knowledge of computer systems, and access to Intel-based PC hosting a Microsoft Windows environment.

Course Goal

  1. To distinguish the characteristics of embedded computer systems.
  2. To examine the various vulnerabilities of embedded computer systems.
  3. To investigate intrusions, attack scenarios, and exploitation methods.
  4. To evaluate/critique various protection methodologies as to their effectiveness to deter, detect, and respond to exploitation activities.

Course Objectives

  • Acquire a working knowledge of embedded computer hardware and software architecture.
  • Use Hex Editors and Basic Debuggers to navigate, reverse engineer, and modify machine-readable code.
  • Examine the operation, implementation, and circumvention of various commonly employed data integrity algorithms.
  • Examine the exploitation processes used to reverse engineer hardware and software assets.

When This Course is Typically Offered

Spring and Fall semesters as an on-line course


  • What are Embedded Computer Systems
  • Hacking Defined
  • Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Risk Assessments
  • Programmability
  • Product Development Process
  • Safeguarding Embedded Systems #1
  • Safeguarding Embedded Systems #2
  • Embedded System Threats

Student Assessment Criteria

Set of 8 Case Study experiments 36%
Participation in 16 Discussion Areas 24%
Mid-Term Exam 20%
Final Exam 20%

All policies regarding grading, participation, and academic honesty must be stated.


All homework is due within one week of its assignment. Late homework will not be accepted without the prior permission of the instructor.

It is assumed that graduate students are adept at writing English and no points will normally be subtracted for English errors; in cases of exceptionally poor English points will be deducted. All external sources of information used to support must be appropriately referenced.

Computer and Technical Requirements

Technical Requiremnets are minimum for WebCT, plus list several other commonly used technologies. You should remove or modify any sections to fit your course.WebCT:

Because WebCT is web-driven, all you need to access it is a web browser that handles frames, tables, and Javascript. The browsers that WebCT currently supports include:

  • AOL 7.0 (PC)
  • AOL 8.0 (PC)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0 (PC)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.1 (OS9, OSX.10.1)
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2 (OSX.10.1, 10.2, 10.3)
  • Netscape 6.2.x (PC and Mac)
  • Netscape 7.0 & 7.1 (PC & OSX)
  • Mozilla 1.5 & 1.6
  • Safari 1.2

To check if your browser will work with WebCT:
Technical information on WebCT can be found at

List other software that may be required.


PDF Viewer:

You will need the free Adobe PDF viewer software to view PDF files in this course. Go to

Zip Software:

You will also need software for "zipping" and "unzipping" (compressing and uncompressing) files. Two popular shareware "zip" programs can be downloaded from the sites linked below:

For Windows - WinZip at
For Macintosh - ZipIt at!:

You will be using eLive!, a web-based conferencing system, to participate in real time office hours. To use eLive!, you must download and install a client on your computer. Go to to get more information about eLive!. If you have any trouble installing or connecting to an eLive! Session, feel free to contact eLive! Technical Support. Their contact information is given at the bottom of the above URL.
If you are a first-time EPP Online student, you will have an opportunity to test the eLive! System several times during the week long mandatory EPP Online Orientation. Others can email EPP Online at if they are interested in attending one of the 30-minute online orientations to eLive!

Participation Expectations

Provide a detailed list of student requirements.


This course will consist of four basic student requirements:

  1. Homework - Each student is required to complete all homework assignments to earn a course grade. Homework assignments will be evaluated and graded on a scale of 0 to 100. It is important to note that homework assignments that fully meet all objectives will receive a grade of 95. The remaining 5 points are reserved for products that go beyond the established objectives of the assignment and clearly identify additional effort, additional research, or self-assessment. Homework not submitted will receive a grade of 0, resulting in an incomplete for the course. Late homework assignments will be reduced by a 10 point penalty per week late. Deficient homework will be returned to students for resubmission within 1 week; the final grade for the specific homework assigned will be the average of the two grades. The intent is to ensure that you are successfully learning the concepts taught in this course. Homework assignments will generally involve answering a scenario problem based upon a specific project management skill. Homework assignments will be uploaded into WebCT and will be accepted in ASCII or Microsoft Word 97(R) (or later) format. Any resubmissions should be sent to the grading instructor* via WebCT mail.
    *The grading instructor is listed in the Course Outline.

  2. Discussions - Student participation in class discussions is imperative for a successful online class experience Lessons learned and past experiences provide the entire class with a broader perspective of the topics being discussed. All students are required to participate throughout the semester. As shown in the table above, class participation will count toward the student's final grade. Throughout the week, each student is required to submit postings to the assigned discussion thread. Each student is expected to respond to the initial discussion question and to at least two of your classmates' responses (additional postings are preferred). A student's initial response and one follow-on posting must be "significant" in nature (see definition below). The goals of these discussions are to (a) thoroughly examine the topic area, (b) apply critical thinking skills, and (c) establish a repository of research material to be used throughout the semester.

    • Day 1 (Monday) - discussion topic opened for posts.
    • Day 1-3 (Monday-Wednesday) - initial student┬áparticipation are posted.
    • Day 3 (Wednesday or Thursday) - Instructor posts weekly questions.
    • Day 3-7 (Wednesday-Sunday) - follow-on student responses are posted
  3. Examinations - A mid-term and a final will be given. Each will be graded on a scale of 0 to 100. Exact dates will be announced later during the semester.

  4. Group Projects - There are no group projects for this course.


Textbook information for this course is available online through the MBS Direct Virtual Bookstore.

Course Notes

There are no notes for this course.

Final Words from the Instructor

More information is available at

Term Specific Course Website

(Last Modified: 06/19/2014 06:21:15 PM)