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This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP38411 Cryptography & Network Security syllabus 2013-2014

COMP38411 Cryptography & Network Security

Level 3
Credits: 10
Enrolled students: 96

Course leader: Ning Zhang

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 100% Written exam
Sem 1 Lecture 1.3 Mon 15:00 - 15:00 -
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Mobile Computing and Networks


The advances in the Internet and wireless communication technologies have led to an impressive growth in the mobile internet. It is now a daily routine for people to share information via, and access services on, the Internet anywhere and anytime. Information that is transmitted, processed, stored, and managed on networked systems is particularly vulnerable to security threats, such as identity theft, manipulation or misuse of valuable or confidential information, deliberate damage to systems and services, and fraud and forgeries in e-banking and e-business dealings. Therefore, how to protect information and resources against these threats has become an important topic.


This course unit is aimed at introducing the technologies and practices that can be used to secure information, computer systems and networks. The course will cover security threats and vulnerabilities, principles of cryptography, and practical topics in network and Internet security. It is designed for students who have some understanding of computer networks and protocols, but no background in security.


Lecture 1

Introduction to security issues: Basic notions of security (confidentiality, integrity and availability), security threats, models, policies, and mechanisms.

Lectures 2-8

Cryptographic building blocks: conventional cryptography (Feistel ciphers, AES), public-key cryptography (RSA), message authentication and cryptographic hash functions (SHA and HMAC), digital signatures, digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructures (PKIs), key management and distribution (Diffie-Hellman, and Needham-Schroeder protocols).

Lectures 9-12

Channel security: IP security (IPSec), secure socket layer (SSL/TLS).

Lectures 13 - 17

Security services: user identification and authentication (unix authentication solution, smart-card authentication solution, Kerberos), access control structures (access control matrix, capabilities and access control list).

Lectures 18 - 21

Advanced topics: e.g. wireless local area network (WLAN) security, e-commerce security, Grid security.

Lecture 22


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

On successful completion of this unit, a student will be able to:

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP38411 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Reading list

No reading list found for COMP38411.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

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