School of Computer Science

Module 06-23899 (2013)

Computer Security

Level 4/M

Tom Chothia Semester 1 20 credits
Co-ordinator: Tom Chothia
Reviewer: Shishir Nagaraja

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


The module will introduce a range of topics in computer security, including attacks and vulnerabilities, and defenses and countermeasures. Both theory and practice are covered.


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


Prerequisites: The ability to program in an object oriented language.

Teaching methods

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

Contact Hours: 34


  • Sessional: 1.5 hr examination (70%), coursework (30%).
  • 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
    • Anonymity
  4. Attacks and defenses
    • Exploits and security tools
    • Firewalls
    • Malware
    • Botnets

Programmes containing this module