Homework & course rules
We will give out three sets of questions during the semester such that each set of questions is focused on the corresponding group of topics that are covered in the lectures. However, some of the practical homework tasks are solved in the labs. The homework tasks will be made public when we start to teach the corresponding topics. Three sets of homework tasks can give up to 35 points.
First homework covers the following topics: data protection, symmetric encryption, smart devices, privacy and anonymity. Second homework covers public key cryptography, HTTPS, end-to-end encryption, smart cards, e-voting, blockchain and payment systems. Third homework is mostly about authentication and attacks.
Deadlines are strict. There is a penalty for late submissions, which increases by each day being late. More information can be found from the section about submission policy and Plagiarism and Collaboration policy. In order to avoid issues with the homework submissions, please read the aforementioned sections at the beginning of the semester.
- 1. Homework [results] [results of practical tasks]
- 2. Homework (deadline: 12th of November) [results of practical tasks]
- 3. Homework (deadline: 3rd of December)
Aggregated results and exam results are posted to this the table.
After each lecture, there will be an online Moodle test to check if the most important ideas or facts were understood. The tests will give up to 20 points during the whole semester, and a single test will give either 1.25 or 2.5 points.
The students have one attempt per test, and the time limit is 15 minutes. Once the test is opened, the timer starts, and in 15 minutes, the test is closed. Thus, we recommend first to attend the lecture and then read the lecture materials before taking the test. There are 5-10 questions in one test.
The tests must be completed in Moodle (https://moodle.ut.ee) before the next lecture, which gives around two weeks to complete the test. Exact deadlines can be found from Moodle. The deadlines for the tests follow the local timezone, i.e., GMT+2.
It is not possible to retake the Moodle tests as two weeks should give enough time to plan your time. As an exception, it is possible to retake the test in case of a medical emergency, but for that, a written proof by the doctor or hospital is needed.
In addition to the homework tasks, each student should write one essay. The essay can give up to ten points, and we have the option to grant up to 2.5 bonus points for exceptionally good essays. In case an essay is not submitted, it will not be possible to get an A. We do not give replacement tasks instead of the essay, which means that the student will have to collect the necessary 40 points in order to attend the exam.
Some example topics for the essays are posted below. We encourage students to propose their own topics! If you are unsure if your own topic is relevant, we can approve it before you start to write.
Each student has to write one essay during the semester. However, different topics have different deadlines, as shown below. For example, if a student wants to write on a topic belonging to the first group (privacy, anonymity, encryption), he or she will have to submit it by October 22nd. After this deadline, these topics are no longer available.
- First group: privacy, anonymity, encryption (deadline: 22nd of October)
- National security and privacy – finding the balance
- The price of online anonymity
- Anonymisation vs pseudonymisation
- Can democracy function in a world with no privacy?
- Providing Tor relay in <enter country here> -- legal aspects
- Will contact tracing destroy privacy?
- <Your own topic>
- Second group: public key encryption, TLS, smart cards, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, e-voting (due on the 19th of November)
- E-voting and democracy
- E-ID, democracy, surveillance
- Can end-to-end encryption be stopped?
- <Your own topic>
- Third group: authentication, social engineering, malware, cyber attacks, web attacks, wireless attacks (due on the 3rd of December, for web attacks and wireless attacks topics the deadline is on the 10th of December.).
- Fake news and online trolls - can information security help?
- Are zero-days a real threat?
- Is cyber war a fiction or a real possibility?
- Privacy in the age of IoT
- IoT and security
- <Your own topic>
- 2 - 3 pages on content (A4, 1.5 line spacing) + references in addition to the content
- It has to be an argumentative essay:
- You will have to show the ability to discuss on the stated topic. If a significant part of the essay is descriptive, then it is not an argumentative essay. We want to see how you form and defend your opinion.
- The essay should have the following structure:
- introduction - the aim is to get the attention of the reader, give background information and to state the problem
- content - claims / opinion, discussion, counterexamples, the viewpoint of the opposing side, references to facts to back up the claims
- conclusion - why the topic is relevant, etc.
- The topic and content has to be relevant to the information security course, keeping in mind that this is a somewhat technical course
- The essay can be written either in English or in Estonian
- The language used in the essay has to be formal and correct
- Important non-trivial factual claims have to be backed up with references
- Essay has to be submitted as a PDF file
- How points are awarded:
- topic, relevancy of the content - 2p
- language, style, structure - 2p
- problem statement and discussion - 6p
- When points are automatically deducted:
- the content does not match the topic = 0p
- text is copied without using citation, see the section about plagiarism = 0p
- it is not an argumentative essay = -5p
- for each significant typo / issue with grammar (commas are not included) = -0.2p
- an important factual claim is provided without reference = -1p
- missing introduction = -2p
- missing conclusion = -2p
- content of the essay is too short, ~1.5 pages = -2.5p
- content of the essay is too short, ~1 page = -5p
- content of the essay is too short, less than 1 full page of content = 0p
- essay is too long, more than 3.5 pages of content = -2.5p
- essay is too long, more than 4 pages of content = -5p
- essay consists mainly of the opinions of third parties (cited discussion), original discussion by the student is missing = -5p
Homework solutions and essays have to be submitted before midnight of the deadline (a delay of up to 15 minutes is not considered a late submission). The deadline is fixed to be in the time zone GMT+2. There is a penalty for late submissions. Each extra day will lower the maximum result by 10%.
- 1 day late - homework result is multiplied by 0.9
- 2 days late - homework result is multiplied by 0.8
- 3 days late - homework result is multiplied by 0.7
If the homework submission is done more than nine days after the deadline, then the solution will automatically get 0 points.
We allow one submission (either homework or essay) to be submitted for up to 3 hours after the deadline (00:16 - 03:00 GMT+2) without the penalty being applied. This exception is activated automatically for the first late submission that falls into the suitable time range. The rule only holds for the first late submission (non-negotiable).
The lecturer should be informed as early as possible if the submission will be late due to a medical reason or due to an important upcoming event. If there is a valid reason for not being able to submit the homework, then in agreement with the lecturer, it might be possible to get an extension or an alternate task. This only applies when the lecturer is informed before the deadline (at least two days in advance, except in the case of a medical emergency).
The same policy applies to essays.
When a solution contains text from other authors, then citation has to be used. This also applies when the information is copied from the course web page, although we strongly suggest avoiding copying text in homework solutions.
In case you are using someone else's ideas, facts or information, then a reference should be added (e.g., as a footnote). A reference is not required if the fact or information is common knowledge. In case important facts or information is provided without using references then the task can be graded with 0 points.
Missing citation is considered as plagiarism and this results in the homework being graded with 0 points. In addition, such cases will be handled according to the study regulations (chapter VII.9. Good academic practice), and the case is forwarded to the faculty or institute committe.
147. If academic fraud or other improper behaviour is ascertained, the committee proposes 147.1. the teaching staff member to warn the student, or 147.2. the vice dean for academic affairs to reprimand the student, or 147.3. the vice dean for academic affairs to make a proposal to the vice rector for academic affairs
to exmatriculate the student.
It is not allowed to submit a solution that was created by a third party. It is not allowed to use a solution created by another student. In case a copied solution is found, all involved students will get 0 points. However, it is allowed to discuss the problems in the homework tasks with other students, but the solutions have to be written independently. In this case, the names of the students involved in the discussion have to be mentioned in the solution. If this is not done or even part of the solution is copied then we consider it to be a case of plagiarism.
In addition, it is not allowed to show the solutions of written homework to other students while they have not submitted their final version of the same homework. In case this rule is violated such that it leads to a plagiarism case, then both students are held responsible.