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Enrolment on this course unit is limited to 158 students.

COMP38411 Cryptography & Network Security syllabus 2018-2019

COMP38411 materials

COMP38411 Cryptography & Network Security

Level 3
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 158

Course leader: Ning Zhang

Additional staff: view all staff

Additional requirements

  • Students who are not from the School of Computer Science must have permission from both Computer Science and their home School to enrol.

Assessment methods

  • 100% Written exam
Sem 1 Lecture Zochonis TH A Wed 10:00 - 12:00 -
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 introduces students to the principles and practice of cryptography and network security, exploring popular cryptographic methods and security protocols and their applications for countering network-based security threats and attacks.

The course 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, security properties (confidentiality, integrity and availability), security vulnerabilities, threats and attacks, the use of attack trees in evaluating and classifying security vulnerabilities and threats, security models, policies and mechanisms

Cryptographic methods (or primitives)

classical encryption techniques, Feistel encryption and decryption, symmetrical (or conventional) ciphers, block cipher and stream cipher principles and operations, introduction to number theory, asymmetrical (or public-key) ciphers

cryptographic hash functions, Message Authentication Code (MACs), digital signatures

Establishing trust, cryptographic (or security) protocols

Diffie-Hellman key exchange, symmetric key distributions, digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructures (PKIs), user identification and authentication, single sign on, cryptographic protocol analysis and design

Network and Internet Security

IP security, web security, email security, Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) 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
A3Analyse, identify, and use attack tree to evaluate and classify, security vulnerabilities and threats in a networked and distributed system context.
  • Examination
A1 A3Describe cryptographic methods taught in the course unit.
  • Examination
A3 A4 B1 B3Apply appropriate cryptographic methods to achieve a given security goal, or to solve a given security problem, in a practical (efficient, usable and scalable) manner.
  • Examination
A3 B1 B3Design and analyse security protocols and methods to solve specified security problems.
  • Examination
A5 B1Describe and analyse network and Internet security solutions covered in the course unit.
  • 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
Computer security (3rd edition)Gollmann, Dieter9780470741153Wiley2010
Security+ guide to network security fundamentals (5th edition)Ciampa, Mark9781305093911CENGAGE Learning2014

Additional notes

Course unit materials

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