Carnegie Mellon University

Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering

Course Information

18-739D: Special Topics in Security: Special Topics in Security: Hacking and Offensive Security




How do the world’s best hackers learn their craft? In this course, you’ll find out.

An overview of our approach can be found in this youtube video: how the best hackers learn their craft (

As a student in this class, you will gain new knowledge in cryptography, web security, software security, OS security, and network security. You will be given exercises that target a very specific type of problem, and asked to solve it. Solving challenges requires learning theory, new tools, and how to put both tools and theory together to find flaws in software.

This is a hands-on course. Additionally, this course expects students are self-motivated.

Successful students will be able to:
- Spot flaws in how the intended security property are implemented.
- Exploit those flaws
- Gain knowledge about a wide variety of technical knowledge important for secure systems.
- Gain experience using a wide variety of tools to help solve challenges.

We expect you come in knowing C, the Linux command line, and know how to touch type. We expect you know how the stack works. If you are not 100% certain in any of these, you probably should not take this course.

Last Modified: 2024-06-28 11:44AM

Semesters offered:

  • Fall 2024
  • Fall 2023