Advanced Topics in Cyber Security - COMP8990

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 7 15 (7.5) Julio Hernandez Castro checkmark-circle


The module looks at a number of advanced topics in cyber security that are important for understanding, finding, researching and assessing security solutions. Example topics include:
? Digital steganography and watermarking, and its increasing role in modern malware;
? CAPTCHAs and other mechanisms to distinguish bots from humans remotely;
? AI in security, for example, the role of deep learning and adversarial examples in cyber security;
? Security in AI, for example, the protection of machine learning techniques against cyber threats;
? Random number generators and their relevance in password and nonce generation;
? Advanced malware threats such as ransomware, covering their evolution and providing some insights into likely future trends, including economic aspects.
? Advanced topics in research related to human factors and usable security, e.g., user behaviour and their relationship to cybercrime, positive security, user profiling and
? Quantum cyber security and the development of quantum-resistant cyber security systems based on quantum mechanics;
? Advanced topics in IoT security, covering new developments and trends, threats and mitigations.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 34
Private study hours: 116
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
50% Coursework and 50% Examination

Presentation (10%)
Written assessment (40%)
Examination, 2 hours (50%)

Indicative reading

Fridrich, J. (2009). "Steganography in Digital Media: Principles, Algorithms, and Applications". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139192903.
Kipper, G. (2003). "Investigator's Guide to Steganography". CRC Press, Inc., USA.
Solving CAPTCHAs, Machine Learning vs. online services
Parisi, A. (2019). "Hands-On Artificial Intelligence for Cybersecurity: Implement smart AI systems for preventing cyber attacks and detecting threats and network anomalies". Pack Publishing.
Nemec, M., Sys, M., Svenda, P., Klinec, D. and Matyas, V. (2017). "The return of coppersmith's attack: Practical factorization of widely used rsa moduli" In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, pp. 1631-1648.
Sikorski, M. (2012). "Practical Malware Analysis: The Hands-On Guide to Dissecting Malicious Software". No Starch Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge of a broad variety of advanced topics related to cyber security research and development.
2 Demonstrate critical awareness of the importance role of human factors for addressing cyber security problems.
3 Demonstrate knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of modern principles in modelling, developing and evaluating in cyber security systems.
4 Select, use and evaluate critically appropriate tools for developing and evaluating cyber security systems.
5 Undertake a research investigation in order to have a conceptual understanding into areas covered by this module, to evaluate critical the current research, and report on
their findings.


  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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