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CM50209: Cybersecurity

[Page last updated: 17 December 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Computer Science
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 80%, EX 20%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 (Remote Presentation) (CW 30%)
  • Coursework 2 (Essay) (CW 50%)
  • Open Book Examination with a Duration of 24 hours (EX 20%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
(a) To develop an understanding of the difficulties of security - everyone wants it but no-one can define it.
(b) To develop the ability to analyse the security threats to a proposed design.
(c) To develop the ability to propose realistic counter-measures, where available.

Learning Outcomes:
After taking this unit, the student should be able to:
(1) describe common security models;
(2) discuss what it means for a given system to be 'secure';
(3) identify security weaknesses in proposed systems.

Critical thinking (F, A). Defensive analysis and programming (T, F, A).

Philosophical, legal, ethical issues. What is a person? Passwords, user ids and biometrics. What are authorisation and delegation? What are data? Security against theft, destruction, interception, tampering. Some thoughts on physical security. Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act, Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act. Military/government requirements for security.
Security within a computer. Hardware support for security: states and memory protection. memory mapping, virtual memory and security. The Unix Security model: chown, chgrp, setuid and chroot. Strengths and weaknesses of the Unix security model: common attacks.
The Multics security model. Capabilities.
Security within Databases. Protection against loss - two-phase commit. Protection against statistical queries: Denning's model.
Security within networks. 'Man in the middle' attacks. What does the 's' in https signify?
Case studies: Internet worm. Power attacks and other covert channels. A chain can be weaker than its weakest link: the Crouch-Davenport attack.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

CM50209 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
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