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CM50209: Cybersecurity

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Computer Science
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 (Presentation) (CW 30%)
  • Coursework 2 (Essay) (CW 50%)
  • Coursework 3 (in-Class Test) (CW 20%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
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.

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

Content: 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.

Programme availability:

CM50209 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science


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