CIS6930 - Cellular and Mobile Network Security

Instructor: Prof. Patrick Traynor (my_last_name 'at'
Location: CSE 222
Meeting Times: T 1:55 - 2:45pm (Period 7); R 1:55 - 3:50 (Periods 7+8)
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Undergraduate Degree in CS
Office Hours: By Appointment
Teaching Assistant: None


Mobile phones and their supporting networks now represent the most widely available computing and communications technologies. Whether as a tool for social networking or enabling businesses transactions in third world countries, this infrastructure is now indespensible to over four billion people throughout the world. Unfortunately, few understand how these systems function and the unique security challenges facing them. This course provides an in-depth investigation into security issues in areas including cellular air interfaces, core networking (SS7, IMS), cellular data networking, and mobile device architectures. Course readings will come from a variety of sources, including academic papers and the following book:

  • P. Traynor, P. McDaniel and T. La Porta. Security for Telecommunications Networks. Springer, Series: Advances in Information Security, August, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-387-72441-6.

A detailed list of lectures, readings, assignments, due dates (subject to change as the semester evolves) is available on the course schedule.


Students will be evaluated based on the following breakdown:

  • 50% Course Research Project
  • 15% Assignments
  • 25% Midterm
  • 10% Class Participation


The course will include one midterm exam. Students will be responsible for material covered both in the readings AND lectures. Attendance is therefore recommended as not all class discussions will be covered in the text.


The instructor will assign homework assignments on a periodic basis for topics associated with the class assignments. These homeworks require the students to write, program, or perform other basic research. The content and due dates of these assignments will be decided over the course of the semester. If you cannot attend a lecture, contact other students to see if any assignments have been made and consult the syllabus.

Course Project

The course project requires that students execute research in network security. The result of the project will be a conference style paper. Project topics will be discussed in class after the introductory material is completed. Be realistic about what can be accomplished in a single semester. However, the work should reflect real thought and effort - projects executed in the closing days of the semester are unlikely to be well received. The grade will be based on the following factors: novelty, depth, correctness, clarity of presentation, and effort.

Project teams may include groups of up to three students; however, groups of greater size will be expected to make greater progress. I will advise each team/individual independently as needed. The project grade will be a combination of grades received for a number of milestone artifacts and the final project write-up. Details of the milestones and content will be given in class with the other project details.

Class Participation

To do well in this course, students must take active and regular roles in discussion and demonstrate comprehension of the reading and lecture themes. Students are required to do the assigned reading before class. This will be closely monitored by Professor Traynor, thereby making a student's ability to demonstrate their comprehension of papers essential to a receiving a passing grade.

Lateness Policy

Assignments and project milestones are assessed a 15% per-day late penalty, with a maximum of 4 days. Unless the problem is apocalyptic, don't give me excuses. Students with legitimate reasons who contact the professor before the deadline may apply for an extension.

Academic Integrity Policy

Students are required to follow the university guidelines on academic conduct at all times. Students failing to meet these standards will be reported to the Office of Student Integrity, which can result in the student receiving an 'F' for the semester. Note that students are explicitly forbidden from copying anything off of the Internet (e.g., source code, text, slides), using anything from an answer guide, or copying code/answers from each other for the purposes of completing any assignment or a course project.

Statement of Ethics

This course covers topics concerning the security of many systems that are widely deployed and potentially critical. As part of this course, we will investigate methods, tools and techniques whose use may negatively impact the rights, property and lives of others. As security professionals, we rely upon the ethical use of the above technologies to perform research. However, it is easy to use such tools in an unethical manner. Unethical use includes the circumvention of existing security or privacy measurements for any purpose, or the dissemination, promotion, or exploitation of vulnerabilities of these services.

This is NOT a class on hacking. Any activity outside of the spirit of these guidelines will be reported to the proper authorities both within and outside of Georgia Tech and may result in dismissal from the class and the University. Exceptions to these guidelines may occur in the process of reporting vulnerabilities through the proper channels; however, students with any doubt should consult Professor Traynor for advice. DO NOT conduct any action which could be perceived as technology misuse anywhere or under any circumstances unless you have received explicit permission from Professor Traynor.