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Unit information: Applied Security in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Applied Security
Unit code COMS30901
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Page
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


Through selected examples within what is a large space of options, this unit aims to give an introduction to two core topics: first, efficient implementation techniques for standard symmetric and asymmetric cryptographic primitives, and, second, attack (specifically, side-channel and fault injection) and mitigation techniques stemming from the use of said primitives in real world applications. Students completing the unit will get hands-on experience with modern, industrially relevant best-practice, and opportunity to integrate content from other units in the programme within whole secure systems rather than disjoint components.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit you will be able to

  • Understand a limited range of state-of-the-art implementation techniques,
  • Understand a limited range of state-of-the-art physical attack and countermeasure techniques,
  • Reason about the security of a system in an "end to end" manner, i.e., from the theoretical underpinnings to the concrete implementation,
  • Use case-study and practical experience to avoid pitfalls in deployment and configuration of existing systems.

Teaching details

Two lectures a week, 24 hours in total. One two hour lab/ help session a week, 24 hours in total.

Assessment Details

100% via coursework assignment(s).

Each assignment will primarily be a technical and programming exercise, rather than a written essay for example.

Reading and References

R. Anderson Security Engineering John Wiley & Sons, 2008 ISBN: 9780470068526 Background

N. Ferguson, B. Schneier and T. Kohno Cryptography Engineering John Wiley & Sons, 2010 ISBN: 9780470474242 Background