Our programme is unique in the Netherlands and one of the few of its kind in the world. It builds on a solid computer systems foundation, with the design, implementation, and evaluation of complex systems, and then specializes in the security issues of modern systems in both hardware and software. The emphasis is on experimental computer science rather than theory. As such, most of the courses in the curriculum are very hands-on, which means you will get extensive practical and research-oriented experience in computer systems and security.
You will study the inner workings of modern computer systems and understand how they have become increasingly complex to meet the challenges of Clouds, Big Data the, Internet of Things, etc. and the ever-growing demand for better performance. You will learn how such sheer complexity comes at a nontrivial security cost, with each layer of the modern hardware and software stack plagued by critical security vulnerabilities.
From Heartbleed to Rowhammer, from Spectre to Meltdown, Foreshadow, and RIDL, you will learn how the different classes of security vulnerabilities can lead to increasingly sophisticated attacks and exploitation techniques. To defend against such attacks, you will study state-of-the-art defensive techniques such as secure system design, software hardening, verification, etc. You will also learn how to use state-of-the-art techniques and tools to assist security analysis, i.e., hardware/software reverse engineering, vulnerability analysis, malware analysis, etc.
In a nutshell, you will learn how to use experimental and empirical approaches to understand and address today’s systems security issues towards tomorrow’s hacker-proof computer systems. What’s more, you will design, implement, and evaluate complex systems and security solutions. To this end, you will often work in small teams to learn valuable collaborative research skills.