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CM50210: Cryptography

[Page last updated: 27 October 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 25%, EX 75%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 25%)
  • Examination (EX 75%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this unit students must have an elementary knowledge of number theory, as in Chapters 1-2 of Davenport The Higher Arithmetic.
Description: Aims:
To introduce students to the techniques, tools and pitfalls of cryptography (including authentication etc.).

Learning Outcomes:
Students will understand the basic mathematics behind private-key and public-key cryptography. Students will be able to describe and analyse several well-known techniques for cryptographic security and authentication. Students will be able to evaluate and choose appropriate tools for the application of cryptography in security. Students will have an appreciation of the current state of cryptography research and its issues and future directions.

Analysing and applying techniques for cryptographic security and authentication (T, F, A). Choosing appropriate tools (T, F, A).

Introduction to the problem: security, privacy, authentication, repudiation, revocation. The key distribution problem: public vs private keys. The mathematics of crytography: Fermat-Euler Theorem, structure of finite fields and elliptic curves. Crytographicalgorithms: Diffie-Hellman, RSAi, El-Gamal. Cryptanalysis: discrete logarithms, factoring. The Coppersmith attack. Elliptic Curve analogues. Private-key algorithms: DES, 3DES and AES. Good hashing algorithms: MD5, SHA-1. Characteristics of safe keys, using cryptography: digital signatures: how to find the public key. Repudiation and revocation, examples in practice: PGP, digital certificates.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

CM50210 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science
  • TSCM-AFM39 : MSc Computer Science
  • TSCM-AFM21 : MSc Software Systems
  • TSCM-AWM35 : MSc Software Systems
  • USCM-AFM01 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science (Year 4)
  • USCM-AAM02 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science with Study year abroad (Year 5)
  • USCM-AKM02 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science with Year long work placement (Year 5)
  • USCM-AFM14 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics (Year 4)
  • USCM-AAM14 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics with Study year abroad (Year 5)
  • USCM-AKM14 : MComp(Hons) Computer Science and Mathematics with Year long work placement (Year 5)


  • 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.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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