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CSC8214 : Systems Security

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Shishir Nagaraja
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Most computer-based systems are vulnerable to security attacks, and it is crucial for system users, designers and maintainers to learn how to detect, prevent and respond to these attacks. This course aims to cover a wide range of attacks, such as man-in-the-middle and API attacks, and to introduce relevant security mechanisms, such as cryptographic techniques and network analysis tools. The material covers the underpinning theory behind attacks and mechanisms, supported by up-to-date research papers, as well as some real-world examples.

Outline Of Syllabus

- Basics of Cryptography
- Security and Dependability
- Network and Distributed System Security
- Security of Emerging Systems
- Usability – Biometrics and Authentication
- Cyber Physical Systems security

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Lectures (PiP and online nonsynchronous)
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities121:0012:00Lecture follow-up via discussion board sessions
Guided Independent StudyProject work641:0064:00Coursework a. Formative feedback - Lab sheets marking b. Summative feedback – online quizzes and 1 report of 1000 words and video presentation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1121:00112:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material via synchronized learning pedagogy including demonstrating key concepts by example. Students are expected to promptly follow-up on lectures by:

(a)       re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid in-depth learning.
(b)       attend scheduled online Q & A and seminar time.
(c)       non-synchronized discussion.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading (18 hours are expected within the module, and 20 hours after the module is over).

Students are expected to spend time on preparing and completing the coursework.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Computer assessment2M40Canvas online quizzes
Report2M601500 words, plus listings and formal documentation. Total 10 pages max.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The online quizzes are an appropriate way to assess knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings and practical skills on small-scale problems. The report assessment gives an opportunity to assess practical skills on a more realistic and open-ended problem, and assess the knowledge learnt over the whole module.

Reading Lists