The Science of Protection and Prevention

Every day seems to bring another headline about a major computer security breach, whether at a corporation, government agency, or communications system. From online banking to electronic commerce to transportation operations, our world increasingly depends on a cyber infrastructure. Hardening these diverse software and control systems against malicious users has become a national priority. To achieve this goal, there is a broad need for computer experts with the deep technical training and expertise to protect vital networks and electronic systems.

To meet the burgeoning demand, we offer our master’s students in the Computer Science department the opportunity to specialize in cyber security. The specialization encompasses courses that focus on technical issues related to safe software, languages, and architectures, as well as broader societal issues of privacy and legal ramifications. Through an eight-course program, students will be trained in topics ranging from cryptographic methods, data and information security, fault-tolerant computing, network security, privacy and anonymity, software safety, and system security.

Cyber security students also have the opportunity to work closely with Boston University’s Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security (RISCS), which promotes and coordinates research and education in system reliability and information security. Current research includes cryptography, network and software security, economic and game-theoretic approaches to Internet computing, database security, and secure cloud computing, among others. The center has earned the University the distinction of being named a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and Research by the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.

While not required, MS candidates may complete a master’s project or thesis. Projects are carried out with the approval of, and under the supervision of, a faculty member. A master’s project can be expanded into a master’s thesis, which requires two faculty readers.

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A Well-Rounded Degree

Our CS students have the opportunity to study cyber security not only at an intimate level, but from a broad perspective as well. In particular, students are encouraged to enroll in courses from other RISCS-affiliated programs at BU, including Metropolitan College (MET), the ECE department in the College of Engineering, and the School of Management (SMG). These courses focus on lower-level issues, such as secure hardware design, as well as higher-level ones such as digital forensics and managing security.