Surrey University Stag


Module code: COMM046

Module Overview

The module focuses on 1) multimedia security technologies and 2) digital forensics techniques used by law enforcement in real world with a special focus on multimedia data. Following an introduction of required fundamental multimedia processing techniques this module will cover two main branches of multimedia security: steganography and digital watermarking. The module will further explain concepts and technologies behind real-world digital forensics tools with a special focus on multimedia data and devices. Relationships and links between multimedia security and digital forensics and broader cyber security topics will also be covered.

Module provider

Computer Science and Electronic Eng

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: I100

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 96

Lecture Hours: 20

Laboratory Hours: 20

Guided Learning: 6

Captured Content: 8

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • Fundamentals of Multimedia Computing

    • Multimedia systems, devices and data

    • General multimedia security concepts

    • Multimedia coding

    • Colour space and human visual system (HVS)

    • Lossless and lossy data compression for multimedia data

  • Steganography and Steganalysis

    • What is steganography (cryptography vs. steganography)

    • Classifications of steganography

    • Main properties of steganographic systems

    • Selected steganographic schemes (e.g. LSB steganography)

    • General concepts of steganalysis

    • Selected steganalytic methods

  • Digital Watermarking

    • What is digital watermarking (steganography vs. digital watermarking)

    • Applications of digital watermarking

    • Main properties and classifications of digital watermarking systems

    • Modelling of digital watermarking systems

    • Selected digital watermarking algorithms (e.g. LSB based approach and those in DCT domain)

    • Security of digital watermarking systems

  • Digital Forensics

    • Digital evidence handling procedures (collection, processing and preservation)

    • Device forensics (computer forensics, mobile forensics)

    • Memory forensics

    • Network forensics

    • Multimedia forensics

    • Anti-forensics

    • Forensic report writing and expert testimony

    • Standards and best practices in digital forensics

    • How law enforcement agencies and industry use digital forensics tools


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 60
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • The first individual coursework testing students’ practical skills of applying one or more selected multimedia security algorithms implemented in MATLAB to actual multimedia data and conducting a number of given performance analysis tasks. This addresses mainly the first three learning outcomes (LO1, LO2 & LO3) in a practical setting.

  • The second individual coursework testing students’ understanding of key concepts of digital forensics and the role of multimedia data/devices in digital forensic analysis, their analytic skills handling real-world problems, and their capability of writing a formally formatted digital forensic report. This addresses mainly the last three learning outcomes (LO4, LO5 & LO6) in a practical setting.


    Formative assessment and feedback


    Lecture slides are used in the lectures with examples to demonstrate technologies taught some of which will then be repeated by the students themselves in lab sessions by programming in MATLAB or using given software tools. Sample solutions to all lab exercises will be provided after each lab session. Some lab sessions will be dedicated to provide formative support for the assessments. Feedback will be collected verbally at the end of lectures and lab sessions to identify what needs further explanation and information will be shared with all students in labs and on the Teams channel for the module. Students are encouraged to use the Teams channel and Surrey learn to promote discussion in the module. Office hours will also be offered to the students to provide additional individual support as needed.  Drop-in sessions (2 hours per week) are offered for students to ask individual questions and for individual tutorials. 


Module aims

  • The aim of this module is to equip students with background knowledge and practical experience of modern multimedia security and digital forensics techniques. The module will explain the underlying theory and concepts, as well as provide students with hands-on experiences on multimedia securtiy techniques and real-world digital forensics tools.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of multimedia computing and main security problems involving multimedia data and/or devices KCT
2 Understand how different types of digital watermarking and steganographic systems work for different applications KCT
3 Implement simple multimedia security algorithms and conduct performance analysis KCPT
4 Understand differences and linkages between multimedia security and digital forensics KCT
5 Understand basic concepts, procedures, applications and main techniques behind digital forensics toolS KCT
6 Use given digital forensic tools to conduct basic foresnic examinations 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:

  • Introduce concepts with real-world examples

  • Drive students’ interests by engaging them with hands-on exercises

  • Consolidate students’ learning on cryptography and security in Semester 1 by applying them to new problems

  • Use MATLAB programming and real-world digital forensic tools in lab sessions to enhance students’ learning experience


The learning and teaching methods include:


  • Lectures to introduce concepts and theory to students combined with real-world examples. For digital forensics part, an external speaker from a digital forensic lab may be involved.

  • Lab sessions to expose students to hands-on exercises on programming and using digital forensics software tools to consolidate what they learned in lectures and assist their coursework.

Students will be expected to distribute the remaining workload on self-study, preparation for lectures and labs, preparation for the class test 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: COMM046

Other information

Digital Capabilities
Forensic analysis of computer systems is an area that has rapidly grown in importance over the last decade. This module provides a grounding in this area with practical skills in steganography and watermarking techniques. Students will gain a practical working knowledge of Matlab (an industry standard tool) along with an understanding of the important algorithms in digital multimedia security.

This module provides both practical skills in developing secure multimedia systems and the fundamental underlying knowledge in basic multimedia security algorithms. The practical skills in Matlab are highly valued in industry both within this area and in other areas. These skills are highly valuable to employers and provide a specialism that will allow a student to confidently work in digital forensics and multimedia security. 

Global and Cultural Skills
Computer Science is a global language and the tools and languages used on this module can be used internationally. This module allows students to develop skills that will allow them to reason about and develop applications with global reach and collaborate with their peers around the world. The problems address on this course and algorithms and techniques taught in this course area applicable worldwide.

Resourcefulness and Resilience
This module involves practical problem-solving skills that teach a student how to reason about securing in complex systems that deal with multimedia. Digital forensics is an area where the ability to adapt to solve problems in different settings is crucial and the knowledge gained on this course along with the assessment is presented with a view to addressing the problem solving nature of this area. 

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 2024/5 academic year.