Module code: COMM037

Module Overview

Security is probably the greatest challenge for computer and information system in the near future. Many users have lost data due to viruses, both on home and business computers. Most of us have seen a range of emails messages attempting different kinds of fraud. Vulnerabilities are everywhere. Some are obvious or well-known; others are obscure and harder to spot. Security is not limited to secrecy and confidentiality, but also involves problems like integrity, availability, and effectiveness of information. Moreover, security issues can potentially affect all of us, from innocent home users to companies and even governments.

Security is not just a technical problem but needs to be embedded throughout an organisation to be effective. As such good security solutions build on a complete understanding of the values at stake, and the supporting business processes and requirements. This includes people as well as information systems and physical resources. Consequently, raising security awareness and embedding security within roles and policies is as important, if not more, as secure software. In short, secure solutions can only be implemented with both good technical skills and a good understanding of cultures and people skills.

This module aims at raising the awareness for the wide range of security issues present in today’s connected world and the technical and organisational challenges a business must face when building a secure solution.

Module provider

Computer Science

Module Leader

DRAGAN Catalin (Computer Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 33

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to Information Security

    • The business need for security:

    • Confidentiality, availability, integrity et al

    • Components of an information system: Software, hardware, data, people, procedures

    • System and security development lifecycles

  • Risk Management

    • Risk Management terminology: Agents, threats, vulnerabilities, etc

    • Risk Identification, assessment (quantitative and qualitative)

    • Risk appetite and residual risk

    • Selecting a risk control strategy

  • Planning for Security

    • Methodologies for Information Security Evaluation and Assurance

    • ISO 27000, Common Criteria

    • Security education and training

    • Continuity strategies

  • The role of cryptography in security

    • Cryptographic algorithms and their application

    • Cryptographic tools, PKI, digital signatures

    • Examples of secure protocols

  • Practical Information Security Management

    • Formal security modelling and analysis

    • Penetration testing approaches and tools

  • Security technologies:

    • Firewalls and VPNs

    • Intrusion detection, scanning and analysis tools

    • Physical security controls

  • Implementing Information Security

    • Information security project management

    • Technical aspects

    • Non-technical aspects

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have achieved the module learning outcomes.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

· Individual coursework on security incidents analysis, evaluation of risk assessment methodologies and security risk assessment. These will address LO1, 2, 4 and 5.

· An exam testing all LOs.

The individual coursework will be due around week 10. The exam takes place at the end of the semester during the exam period.

Formative assessment and feedback

No formative assessment is provided but feedback is given during the class discussions / workshops and as part of the feedback provided for the summative assessments.


Module aims

  • The aim of the module is to equip the students with the analytical skills and knowledge to assess security in large systems and organisations, and to incorporate appropriate levels of security in the various steps of a systems lifecycle.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Identify and discuss the benefits of embedding security throughout an organisation KCP
2 Be able to identify assets and threats, and assess risks K
3 Have an understanding of how to relate and adapt information systems in general and security solutions in particular to specific business processes and requirements to meet overall goals KCP
4 Be able to suggest and justify technical and non-technical solutions to security problems KCPT
5 Be able to communicate clearly and unambiguously about security problems  to other people in an organisation PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to help students achieve the learning outcomes of the module through

• in-class discussions of case studies and news articles

• in-class group exercises

• individual assignment

• practical lab sessions


The learning and teaching methods include:

• Lectures (11 weeks at 1h)

• Tutorial, workshop or lab sessions (11 weeks at 2h)


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: COMM037

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.