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CSC8207 : Security of Complex Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Narges Khakpour
  • Lecturer: Dr Mujeeb Ahmed
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


Complex systems, such as industrial control systems, include social, cyber and physical aspects, which can all be exploited by attackers.

This module will cover approaches and practices used in securing complex systems, including vulnerabilities, attacks and defence techniques concerning networking protocols and architectures in such systems. Additionally, the module will cover human and organisational aspects and how such factors intersect with the software and hardware components in complex systems, and how to mitigate the impact of risks arising from such interaction. Aspects of incident response and post-incident forensics will also be covered.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Fundamentals of complex systems, e.g., the devices, platforms and protocols used in them
- Security of complex systems (e.g., Industrial control systems; Smart grids; Industrial IoTs; Smart cities)
- Vulnerabilities in industrial protocols and defence techniques
- Threat modelling in the context of complex systems
- Sophisticated attack mechanisms, e.g., adversarial machine learning
- Human and organisational factors, e.g., usability challenges of security; social engineering techniques; risk
perceptions and decision-making.
- Incident response and forensics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials600:1515:00Lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00Lecture follow-up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Preparation for coursework
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion51:005:00Discussion on forum
Guided Independent StudyProject work301:0030:00Coursework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study201:0020:00Background reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk51:005:00Lecture material introduction and discussion
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture material (using both recorded videos and written/interactive material) will be used to teach fundamental concepts and to introduce technical and relevant research papers. Learners are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days, and to read the selected background material uploaded online. The small group teaching sessions will allow learners to work with several demonstrators on topics related to the coursework, and learners are expected to actively participate on the discussion forum.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M1002,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module is in general directly informed by current research, and the assessment includes an aspect of critical thinking and application of research techniques. Students are also assessed on their awareness of current security problems for complex systems, provided in the teaching material.

Reading Lists