Computer Security - CO876

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 4)
Autumn 7 15 (7.5) PROF S Li checkmark-circle


• A general introduction to networks and networking protocols, especially TCP/IP.
• Overview of important Internet application protocols: HTTP, SMTP, DNS, LDAP.
• A study of cryptographic algorithms including symmetric and asymmetric techniques and the distinction between encryption and signatures.
• Security mechanisms used with operating systems, including: usernames/passwords, access control lists and capabilities.
• Problems of network security including wiretap, replay, masquerade and denial of service. Mechanisms to provide security such as firewalls and VPNs.
• Viruses and worms.
• Distributed Mechanisms, including client authentication (Needham-Schroeder, Kerberos and others); public key infrastructures and certification, with treatment of chains and authority, and the problem of revocation.
• Securing email systems: PGP and S/MIME
• Identity management systems: e.g. Shibboleth, Passport, CardSpace, OpenID.
• Basic introduction to information risk management and information security management.
• Security of IEEE 802.11 networks (aka Wi-Fi), presentation and discussion of their security protocols: WEP, WPA, WPA2, IEEE 802.11i and RSN.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Contact hours: 50
Private study hours: 100
Total hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Practical report (20%)
Two in-course tests (20% each)
Written examination (40%)

13.2 Re-assessment methods
Like for like.

Indicative reading

• Charles P. Pfleeger and Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, "Security in Computing", 5th ed., 2015,
Prentice Hall (Covers a wide range of security issues, looking at problems of systems in general, not just problems associated with distribution).
• Dieter Gollmann, "Computer Security", 3rd Edition. 2011. John Wiley and Sons.
• Ross Anderson, "Security Engineering", 2008, Wiley.
Available also from
• Zeng W., Yu H. and Lin C., "Multimedia Security Technologies for Digital Rights Management", 1st ed. Elsevier, 2006
• Vladimirov A., Gavrilenko K. and Mikhailovsky A. "Wi-Foo: The Secrets of Wireless Hacking", 1st ed., Addison-Wesley, July 2004

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8. The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1) demonstrate an understanding of current algorithms used in cryptography;
2) demonstrate a systematic understanding of the threats faced by computer operating systems, applications and networks (especially the Internet) and the various countermeasures that can be used;
3) make informed choices of the appropriate security measures to put into place for a given network, operating system or application;
4) demonstrate an understanding of the various techniques used in identity management;
5) demonstrate a critical awareness of information risk management and information security management;
6) undertake an independent investigation into areas covered by this module and report on their findings;
7) undertake practical exercises related to this topic of this module;
8) demonstrate a deeper and integrated understanding of selected key topics at the forefront of this field, including recent developments and outstanding issues.

9. The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1) work effectively in a group;
2) demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks;
3) communicate effectively with specialist and non-specialist audiences;
4) present ideas, arguments or results in the form of a well-structured written report;
5) demonstrate the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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