Network Security

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
25 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC G400CH Advanced Computer Science,
MSC H60112 Computer Networks and Security,
MSC GH64N3 Computer Systems Engineering

Module description

Students are not permitted to undertake this module if they have done the equivalent module of CE324 at UG level on a CSEE undergraduate course. This is because it cannot count towards your course credits. Please contact the CSEE School Office for specific advice on your module choices.

This course considers the application of security to networked computers and systems, extending on the content of 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. Based on the assumption that public networks will always be open to compromise, this course introduces techniques to secure transmitted data, including the management of encryption systems and communication.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • Based on the assumption that public networks will always be open to compromise, to introduce techniques to secure transmitted data, including the management of encryption systems and communication.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of 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. Analyse the key management techniques required for encrypted communication/authentication.

  7. Analyse security problem scenarios and propose integrative solutions.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

  • Introduction Principles of network security and privacy.

  • Introduction to the different types of network-based 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 spoofing.

  • 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

This module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures
  • Revision classes


  • Stallings, William. (2016) Network security essentials: applications and standards, Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

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)     50% 
Coursework   Lab Test 2 (MCQ test open book)     50% 
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

Dr Anthony Olufemi Tesimi Adeyemi-Ejeye
Available via Moodle
Of 101 hours, 21 (20.8%) hours available to students:
80 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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