Surrey University Stag


Module code: COM3009

Module Overview

The rapid development of the Internet, and its increased use for business critical and financial transactions, have made understanding of security issues more important than ever before. This module covers the basic principles behind computer security.

Module provider

Computer Science

Module Leader

SCHNEIDER Steve (Elec Elec En)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: I100

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 104

Laboratory Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 12

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module is divided into the following areas:

  • Introduction to security issues and security evaluation

  • Introduction to cryptography

  • Symmetric and Public Key schemes

  • Modern symmetric cryptographic algorithms, e.g., Block Cipher Primitives, AES

  • Asymmetric encryption

  • Public Key Algorithms, e.g., RSA/ElGamal

  • Attacking protocols

  • Introduction to Access Control

  • Introduction to Authentication in Distributed Systems

  • Current Technologies in Security, e.g., VPN, firewalls

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

Not Applicable

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes.


Learning outcomes 1 and 2 are assessed by the coursework, and also by the examination.  Learning outcomes 3 and 4 are assessed by the examination.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Grades for the coursework item against previously published assessment criteria

·         Coursework is 20 hours work

·         Two hour examination.


Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback is given in lab sessions on the students attempts at the lab exercises and theoretical questions.  Written formative feedback is also given on the coursework.  Use of the electronic voting handsets in lectures also provides formative feedback for the students.

Module aims

  • develop the students understanding of computer security and its fundamental principles
  • focus on the details of cryptographic mechanisms and how they are used to achieve security
  • develop an understanding of the difficulties involved in achieving security and the approaches taken in analysing security solutions
  • Introduce tools for exploring cryptography and for protocol analysis
  • Introduce aspects of access control for information protection

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Explain and demonstrate an understanding of the main cryptographic primitives and algorithms KCT
2 Analyse and model cryptographic protocols KC
3 Explain the basic principles of security KT
4 Describe current trends in security threats and countermeasures P

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:

Provide students with the knowledge, skills and practical experience covering the module aims and learning outcomes

The learning and teaching methods include:

For each teaching week there will be

  • 2 hours of lectures, including use of electronic voting

  • 2 hour of labs

  • There will also be a revision session to support the module.


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: COM3009

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Computer Science BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Computing and Information Technology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Computer and Internet Engineering BEng (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Computer and Internet Engineering MEng 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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 2021/2 academic year.