Computer Security

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
08 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC G40012 Advanced Computer Science,
MSC H60112 Computer Networks and Security,
MSCIG402 Computer Science,
MSCII100 Computer Science (Integrated Masters, Including Placement Year)

Module description

This course gives an introduction to computer security and cryptography, and then goes on to consider security as it relates to a single, network connected, computer. Introductory material is independent of any operating system but the consideration of tools will focus on those available for Linux, partly because its open-source nature facilitates this and partly because it is widely used on server systems. The introduction to cryptography will be used to consider its use in encryption and authentication.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to computer security and cryptography and consider security according to a single network connected computer exemplified using the linux operating system.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

1. Identify and describe common security vulnerabilities
2. Identify and describe different types of attack on computers
3. Recommend security tools and procedures to protect against specific types of attack
4. Describe the nature of malware, how it may be identified and the attack mitigated
5. Explain the distinction between different types of cryptography and identify common algorithms that are weak and strong
6. Describe the use of cryptography in certification and authentication

Module information

Outline Syllabus

-Principles of security and privacy, introduction to the different types of computer attack

-Common security policies, techniques and tools:
-Good administrative procedures for computer systems. Data security (e.g. good backup policy).
-Combating social engineering. Tools for identifying system vulnerabilities. Monitoring for break-ins. Recovering from a break-in.

Overview of Encryption:
-Applications of encryption to computer security. Types of encryption algorithms.
-Examples of encryption algorithms commonly used.

User Authentication:
-Methods of user authentication. One way functions and MD5., Biometric access control (e.g. fingerprint, iris etc.). Other techniques (e.g. smartcard).

Protecting passwords from attack:
-Good and bad passwords. Methods to crack passwords and policies/techniques to reduce the problem.

Malicious software:
-History. Classification. How viruses spread. Identifying malware.
-Antivirus software.

Risk analysis
-Analysis of risk. Steps in risk analysis. Using risk analysis to select new controls.

Learning and teaching methods

No information available.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Practical Assignment 1 - Lab Report 15/11/2019 33.33%
Practical Assignment 2 - Lab Report 20/12/2019 33.34%
Written Exam Progress Test 1 - Week 8 33.33%
Exam 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
30% 70%


Coursework Exam
30% 70%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Mohammad Anisi
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 Raouf Hamzaoui
De Montfort University
Available via Moodle
Of 32 hours, 21 (65.6%) hours available to students:
11 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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