There is a growing recognition that technology alone cannot solve all the problems relating to computer security and data privacy, and that human factors play an essential role in these areas. This course will introduce the field of usable security and privacy, which explores how people interact with security and privacy mechanisms. Topics include usability and user-interface problems related to security and privacy, principles of usable security and privacy, and methods for designing and understanding studies aimed at evaluating usability issues in this domain.

Prerequisites: CS 51x PO or CS 5 HM. Further computer science courses (e.g., CS 54 and 62 or CS 60 and 70) and/or some exposure to statistics (e.g., Math 58) may be helpful but is not required.


Classes will place on Mondays and Wednesdays 11:00-12:15 in Lincoln 1135. See the schedule for details.


Eleanor Birrell Eleanor Birrell
Edmunds 221
Office hours: Mondays 8-10pm and Tuesdays 1:30-3pm.

The best way to contact me is by email. I try to respond to all emails within 24 hours.


There will be approximately 10 assignments in this class. Most of these assignments will be working towards a semester-long course project. See the assignments page for details. Assignments will generally be due on Tuesdays at 11:59pm PT.


There will also be some assigned readings. See the schedule for details.


Finishing all the assignments successfully is required to pass the class. After that, grades are computed on a point basis, as follows:

Assignments A0-A8: 40%
Final Project Writeup: 20%
Final Project Presentations: 15%
Readings: 20%
Participation: 5%

Academic Integrity

In general, collaboration is encouraged in this course. This means that you may discuss approaches to solving problems with anyone in this class, including me. As specified in the department policy, you may help, or receive help, in using systems and tools, in brainstorming debugging or testing strategies, and in working with high-level design issues. However, unless otherwise specified, you should never be looking at another student's code. Moreover, any material from any external source---web page or person or book---should be cited. The actual solutions to the assignments and everthing you submit for the project should be your work. If you have questions about what is appropriate or inappropriate collaboration, please speak with the instructor.

Course materials provided to you, are for your use in the course. You are encouraged to use them to the fullest extent, but you are not to publish them or distribute them to other people or organizations.


I am committed to providing equal opportunity for all students. If you have concerns about anything that is preventing you from fully participanting in the class, please talk to me so that we can address it. Requests for formal accommodations may be made by contacting the Disability Coordinator on your home campus; all accomodations will be honored.