Module code: COM3009

Module Overview

The understanding of security issues is arguably more important than ever before. This module covers the basic principles behind computer security.

Module provider

Computer Science and Electronic Eng

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Laboratory Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 8

Captured Content: 3

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, in general

  • Principles and details of symmetric cryptographic algorithms, e.g., Block Ciphers, MACs

  • Asymmetric encryption and digital signatures, e.g. RSA/ElGamal

  • Attacks and security of protocols

  • Modern topics in security and applied cryptography, e.g. VPN, firewalls

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework INDIVIDUAL COURSEWORK 1: Primarily in Applied Cryptography 50
Coursework INDIVIDUAL COURSEWORK 2: Primarily in Security Protocols 50

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.

All learning outcomes are assessed via coursework and formatively by labs.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

The coursework is not fixed and varies year on year in the amount of practice vs theory.

  • The first coursework covers the first half of the module (see descriptor) which is primarily applied cryptography.

  • The second coursework covers the second half of the module (see descriptor) which is primarily security protocols and their analysis.

Grades for the coursework items are given against published assessment criteria with each piece of coursework.

Each coursework is an individual piece of work.

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.

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 elements of security proofs

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain and demonstrate an understanding of the main cryptographic primitives and algorithms KCT
002 Analyse and model cryptographic protocols KC
003 Explain the basic principles of security KT
004 Describe current trends in security threats and countermeasures T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:

For each teaching week there will be

  • Recorded/captured content

  • Face-to-face lectures

  • Face-to-face 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

Other information

Digital Capabilities

Computer Security is vital to all aspects of life and this module teaches both theory and practical skills to secure a system. These skills are now fundamental to developing solutions to problems as a computer scientist. Network systems are a part of most industries and the skills learned in this module will give students the knowledge to secure these systems


This module provides security, cryptographic theory and software skills that are vital in today’s industry. Students are equipped with theory practical problem-solving skills that allow them to work with and reason about security in computer and networked systems. These skills are highly valuable to employers.  Cyber Security experts are highly sought-after.

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.

Resourcefulness and Resilience

This module involves practical problem-solving skills that teach a student how to reason about security in complex hardware and software systems through combining the foundation theory taught with practical technologies for systems that are in everyday use.

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 2025/6 academic year.