School of Computer Science

Module 06-23899 (2011)

Computer Security

Level 4/M

Tom Chothia Semester 1 20 credits
Co-ordinator: Tom Chothia
Reviewer: Volker Sorge

The Module Description is a strict subset of this Syllabus Page.


The aims of this module are to:

  • present the goals of data confidentiality, integrity and availability
  • introduce the principal methods and techniques involved in designing and implementing secure systems

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  • describe the basic concepts of computer security
  • demonstrate an understanding of the threats to data stored on a computer, or being sent between computers, and apply techniques to secure that data
  • identify security risks, and suggest appropriate solutions

Teaching methods

2hr/week lectures, 1hr/week tutorials and lab sessions


  • Sessional: 1.5 hr examination (60%), coursework (40%).
  • Supplementary: 1.5 hr examination (100%)

Detailed Syllabus

  1. Threats, risk, vulnerabilities and impact
  2. Fundamentals of cryptography
    • Symmetric-key encryption
    • Public-key encryption
    • Secure hash functions
  3. Cryptography in practice
    • Key certificates
    • Secure protocols
  4. Attacks and defenses
    • Common exploits and security tools
    • Firewalls
    • Intrusion detection
    • Denial-of-service attacks
  5. Privacy and Anonymity
    • Methods used to track users
    • Anonymity systems

Programmes containing this module