School of Computer Science

Module 06-23899 (2014)

Computer Security

Level 4/M

Tom Chothia Semester 1 20 credits
Co-ordinator: Tom Chothia
Reviewer: Ian Batten

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:

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


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%), continuous assessment (30%).

Supplementary (where allowed): 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