Introduction to Cyber Security - COMP5580

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) Jason Nurse checkmark-circle


Cyber security has always been an important aspect of computing systems but its importance has increased greatly in recent years. The curriculum covers areas where cyber security is of major importance, but have different security requirements and may be exposed to different threats and attacks. It also covers techniques and mechanisms used to secure computer systems and data to meet those requirements and protect them. The areas looked at include computer operating systems (and increasingly, distributed operating systems), distributed applications (such as electronic commerce over the Internet), embedded systems (ranging from smart cards to large industrial plant and telecommunications systems), and users. The techniques and mechanisms looked at include cryptography, authentication & authorisation, and access control. Furthermore, the curriculum integrates the legal, ethical, and professional perspectives, for instance, to address concerns about data security, privacy, and societal impact of computing systems.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 120
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
2 hour written exam - 50%
Coursework - 50%

13.2 Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Anderson, R., "Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems" 2nd ed., 2008, Wiley.
BCS Code of Conduct,
Pfleeger, C.P., Pfleeger, S.L., and Marulies, J., "Security in Computing", 5th ed., 2015, Prentice Hall.
Cranor, L.F. & Garfinkel, S., "Security and Usability: Designing Secure Systems that
People Can Use" 2005, O'Reilly Media.
Stallings, W., "Cryptography and Network Security: Principles and Practice" 7th ed., 2017, Pearson.
Ferguson, N., Kohno, T., and Schneier, B. "Cryptography Engineering: Design Principles and Practical Applications", 1st ed., 2010, John Wiley & Sons.
Garfinkel, S. and Lipford, H.R., "Usable Security: History, Themes, and Challenges", 2014, Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Understand foundational security principles and core technology to enforce and maintain security of data and computer systems;
2. Make informed choices of the appropriate security measures to put into place for a given network and/or operating system;
3. Understand the importance of putting security into the context of a larger system including hardware, software, and human users;
4. Understand how cryptography can be used for providing security within applications;
5. Understand and implement selected fundamental algorithms used in cryptography.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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