CS407 – Computer Security

Credits 20
Level 4
Semesters 1 & 2
Prerequisites CS308 Building Software Systems
Elective No
Contact Lectures: 22 | Tutorials: 0 | Labs: 22
Assignments: 80 | Self study: 76
Assessment Students will complete two coursework assignments (totalling 40% of the marks) and sit a 2-hour examination (60% of the marks).
Resit TBC
Lecturer Dr Rose English

General Aims

The aim of this class is to provide students with the opportunity to develop a security mind-set by introducing them to core material in the area of computer security. This should enable students to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities for a range of situations, and propose appropriate actions to mitigate these issues.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this class, participants will be able to:

  • understand and explain the algorithms behind a number of different cryptographic and communication solutions;
  • understand and explain a range of different security protocols;
  • evaluate an existing or proposed system in terms of potential vulnerabilities and recommend the most appropriate security solution to apply;
  • summarise the key vulnerabilities, threats, and attacks with regards to network security and propose suitable approaches to mitigate these issues.


  • Secure communications: cryptography and steganography
  • Network security: an examination of the potential threats to network security such as packet sniffing; an examination of the corresponding mitigation techniques
  • Access control: an examination of the different approaches to user authentication and access control including topics such as alternative authentication
  • Human aspects of computer security: this is an ever important aspect of security – the class will explore how the user impacts security and examine why technical solutions are not the whole picture
  • Further ‘hot’ topics: for example malware – decomposing the structure of malware and antivirus approaches

Recommended Text/Reading*

* This list is indicative only – the class lecturer may recommend alternative reading material. Please do not purchase any of the reading material listed below until you have confirmed with the class lecturer that it will be used for this class.

Foundations of Computer Security. Salomon, D. Springer, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1849965606 | Stocked at Amazon (Other retailers are available)

Computer Security: Principles and Practice. Stallings, W. and Brown, L. Pearson Education, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0132775069 | Stocked at Amazon (Other retailers are available)