Network Security

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
17 June 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BENGG420 Computer Networks,
BENGG421 Computer Networks (Including Year Abroad),
BENGG520 Computer Networks (Including Foundation Year),
BENGI120 Computer Networks (Including Placement Year)

Module description

Networked systems, such as the Internet, are now considered critical infrastructure in all parts of society. These systems are increasingly becoming the target of attacks and it is vital that they are protected from such attacks.

This module covers the defence of networked systems using both network analysis/defence tools and cryptographic approaches.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to consider the application of security to networked computers and systems, extending on the content of CE235 Computer Security (which examined security as applied to a single computer). It explains how to secure a network by applying methods to detect, mitigate and/or stop attacks.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Identify and describe common network security vulnerabilities/attacks
2. Design computer network architectures that reduce security risks
3. Formulate firewall table rules and in general be familiar with network boundary protection.
4. Identify and describe the operation of security tools for network security applications
5. Propose suitable security techniques for encryption and authentication
6. Describe key management techniques required for encrypted communication/authentication.

Module information

Outline Syllabus


Principles of network security and privacy. Introduction to the different types of networkbased attack (or non-malicious problem) that may require attention.

Securing a computer network at the network layer

Techniques to identify network vulnerabilities and review of the relevant network layer protocols. Types of firewall. Configuring network firewalls and application gateways.

Computer architectures and topologies that reduce risk of attack. Network policies that support security. Securing wireless systems. Stopping network layer and DNS-based

Detecting and mitigating network based attacks

Network intrusion detection systems. Fake systems (honeypots) for attack
deflection/detection. Adapting network policy in reaction to attack.

Key management for encryption and authentication

Ticket-based authentication systems including Kerberos. Public key infrastructure (PKI). Securing Email communication. Secure network management.

Secure communication protocols

Securing application/transport layer protocols using secure socket layer (SSL) including secure HTTP web transfer. Securing network layer transmission through IP security (IPsec).

Virtual private networks (VPNs). Secure web-based applications (cookies, cross-site scripting, and spoofing).

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and Laboratory sessions


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Lab Test 1 (MCQ test open book)     33.3% 
Coursework   Lab Test 2 (MCQ test open book)     33.3% 
Coursework   CE324 Log book   21/03/2024  33.4% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Early Exams 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
30% 70%


Coursework Exam
30% 70%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Martin Reed, email: mjreed@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Martin Reed
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Prof Sandra Dudley
London South Bank University
Professor of Communication Systems
Available via Moodle
Of 56 hours, 22 (39.3%) hours available to students:
32 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
2 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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