Module code: COMM048

Module Overview

The module introduces general information and network security principles, challenges and goals and then focuses on main security mechanisms and protocols for protecting network communication across different layers of the Internet protocol stack. This will include discussion on various attacks on the networks, penetration testing tools and possible countermeasures to ensure protection of authentication, confidentiality and end-to-end security of communications. In labs students will be able to practice experience with various network security protocols and tools.

Module provider

Computer Science and Electronic Eng

Module Leader

CHEN Liqun (CS & EE)

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: 125

Lecture Hours: 15

Laboratory Hours: 10

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • Information and network security challenges and goals

  • Internet security threats, network-level vulnerabilities and their exploitation (e.g. flooding/spoofing/man-in-the-middle attacks on Internet protocols (incl. ARP, IP, TCP) and network components, DDoS attacks)

  • Network security tools (e.g. nmap, wireshark, scapy), incl. penetration testing for networks

  • Kerberos authentication and key management

  • IPsec (incl. Internet Key Exchange) and Virtual Private Networks (incl. IP tunneling)

  • Transport Layer Security (incl. TLS handshake/record layer/alert protocol, OpenSSL library)

  • Public Key Infrastructures and X.509 certificates

  • Intrusion Detection Systems (incl. host-based, network-based, hybrid IDS, honeypots, monitoring and logging activities)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 100

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:

·         An individual coursework with a set of theoretical and practical tasks.

This addresses LO1, LO2 and LO3.


Formative assessment and feedback

Lecture slides are used extensively in the lectures with each lecture consisting of a number of slides explaining the theory and showing the examples. Solutions to lab exercises are explained during the lab session and provided to the students.

Module aims

  • The aim of this module is to equip students with background knowledge and practical experience of modern information and network security mechanisms, including widely used network security protocols and technologies. The module will explain various attacks on the network communications and demonstrate the use of appropriate protection mechanisms. The module will cover theoretical foundations of modern information and network security mechanisms and practical understanding of those mechanisms with their application in the real world.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Understand information and network security principles, challenges and goals that are relevant for the protection of information and network communication against various types of attacks in the real world KC
2 Understand the functionality, advantages and disadvantages of main protection mechanisms and protocols for securing network communications KCT
3 Experience practical application of network security protocols and technologies KPT

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 understand the nature of information and network security, including main principles, challenges and goals

  • Explain threats and attacks arising in the context of network communications

  • Explain the functionality of network security protocols and relevant protection mechanisms

  • Enable students to apply existing security mechanisms and protocols for the protection of network communications


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures (15 hours) using detailed lecture slides to gauge the students’ understanding

  • Labs (10 hours) using computing labs, exercise sheets and their solutions.


Students will be expected to distribute the remaining workload on self-study, preparation for lectures and labs, preparation and submission of the coursework.


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: COMM048

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Information Security MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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 2022/3 academic year.