Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

This is an archived syllabus from 2014-2015

COMP38411 Cryptography & Network Security syllabus 2014-2015

COMP38411 Cryptography & Network Security

Level 3
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 114

Course leader: Ning Zhang

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 100% Written exam
Sem 1 Lecture IT407 Mon 15:00 - 17:00 -
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Mobile Computing and Networks


The popularity of the Internet, coupled with the explosive growth of mobile computing devices (phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and laptops), has led to the world of universal electronic connectivity. In this connected world, people access data and services on the Internet and communicate with each other anywhere and anytime. While this level of connectivity may bring us many benefits such as improving our quality of life and running services with global presence but with reduced costs, it does open vast opportunities for unauthorised access to data, services and other resources and for fraud and forgeries in commercial and business activities. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to increase both awareness and knowledge in protecting data and resources from unauthorised disclosure, in guaranteeing the authenticity of data in transit, and in protecting networked systems against attacks.


This course unit aims to introduce the principles and practice of cryptography and network security. It covers cryptography, network-based security threats and vulnerabilities, and practical solutions to system and network security. It is designed for students who have some understanding of computer networks and protocols, but no background in security.


Introduction to Security

basic notions of security (confidentiality, integrity and availability), risk assessment, security threats, models, policies, and mechanisms


conventional ciphers, block cipher and stream cipher operations, introduction to number theory, public-key ciphers, message authentication code and cryptographic hash functions, digital signatures, Public Key Infrastructures (PKIs), cryptographic key management and distribution

System and Software Security

user identification and authentication, single sign on, authorisation, software security

Internet Security

IP security, transport layer security, web security

Advanced Security Topics

wireless local area network (WLAN) security, ad hoc network security, e-commerce security, Cloud computing security


Feedback methods

Via question/answer sessions.

Study hours

  • Lectures (22 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (16 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Learning outcomes

Programme outcomeUnit learning outcomesAssessment
A3Understand the principles and practices of cryptographic techniques.
  • Examination
A3 B1Understand a variety of generic security threats and vulnerabilities, and identify and analyse particular security problems for a given application.
  • Examination
A3Understand the design of security protocols and mechanisms for the provision of security services needed for secure networked applications.
  • Examination
A3Appreciate the application of security techniques and technologies in solving real-life security problems in practical systems.
  • Examination
B1Design security protocols and methods to solve specified security problems.
  • Examination
C4Be familiar with current research issues and directions of network security.

Reading list

Cryptography and network security: principles and practice (7th edition)Stallings, William9781292158587Pearson2017
Security+ guide to network security fundamentals (5th edition)Ciampa, Mark9781305093911CENGAGE Learning2014
Introduction to computer securityBishop, Matt9780321247445Addison-Wesley2004
Computer security (3rd edition)Gollmann, Dieter9780470741153Wiley2010

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.