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MSc ACS: Artificial Intelligence / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Cyber Security

Course unit fact file
Unit code COMP61421
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Computer Science
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The spectacular growth of the Internet and wireless communication amidst a constantly transforming threat landscape has spawned an increased need for awareness in security techniques. This course unit covers a broad range of security issues in relation to networked environments, ranging from risk assessment, threat modeling, business continuity management, to security policy specifications, from threats and vulnerabilities to practical countermeasures through the ‘kill chain’.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Cryptography COMP61411 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The course unit covers risk, human factors, and compensating technologies by considering the requirements of cyber and information system security with a systemic view of the development process from the 'Acquisition' through to the 'Disposal' stages.

Learning outcomes

  • Apply critical thinking to assess the risk to an information system.

  • Understand risk, threats, and vulnerabilities in the context of cyber security and those who rely on it.

  • Evaluate intelligence to create a structured plan to reduce the risk posed by threats to an acceptable level

  • Translate the treatment of cyber security risk into consistent policy for resilient security management.

  • Apply a risk-based approach to cyber security testing.

  • Analyse and identify security vulnerabilities and threats in a networked or distributed system context.

  • Design and analyse security protocols or solutions for a given security problem or for achieving a given security goal.

  • Describe, analyse and apply security techniques and technologies learnt in the course unit to solve real-life security problems in practical systems.

  • Demonstrate your awareness of recent research directions or activities in the area of cyber security.


Information assurance: the need for computer and network security

  • Security Breaches
    • Mistakes, criminality and cyber terrorism
  • System Life cycles
    • Plan-do-check-act
    • Propose, direct, monitor
  • Trustworthy software
  • Vulnerabilities
    • Technological
    • Human vulnerabilities in computer and network security

Cyber and information security management

  • Risk management
    • Threats and breaches
    • Risk and threat modelling
  • Technologies and countermeasures
    • Entity identification and authentication
    • Access control in computer systems and in networks
    • Communication security, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Web security
    • Wireless network security
    • E-Commerce/cloud computing security

Controls and regulators

  • Protection
    • Security Policy
    • Secure System Development and Maintenance
    • Security Organisation
    • Asset Management
    • Access Control
    • Physical and Environmental Security
    • Human factors
  • Operation
    • Communications and Operations Management
    • Security Incident and Event Management
    • Business Continuity Management
  • Self preservation
    • Kill-chain disruption
    • Intrusion prevention
    • Intrusion detection
    • Recovery
  • Compliance
    • Cyber and information security management standards
    • Laws and regulations
    • Audits reviews, and inspection
    • Vulnerability scanners
    • Penetration testing
    • Computer forensics

Teaching and learning methods


40 hours: Lectures and group work.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Via question/answer session during lectures and course works.

Recommended reading

COMP61421 reading list can be found on the Department of Computer Science website for current students.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 15
Independent study hours
Independent study 113

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ning Zhang Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the Department of Computer Science website for current students.

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