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CM50210: Cryptography

[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 25%, EX 75%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 25%)
  • Examination (EX 75%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
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.

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

Content: 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.

Programme 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 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
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