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The University of Southampton

COMP3217 Security of Cyber Physical Systems

Module Overview

The course requires to understand C code, assembly language, x86 architectures and memory allocation (a refresher will be provided).

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to equip students with the necessary skills and experience to understand, and attempt to counter, the principal threats to data and electronic system security.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The range of cyber physical and software systems which present potential security hazards
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand and recognise instances of the principal attacks on such systems
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Take straightforward measures to protect systems from security breaches


- Types of attack and attacker, range of systems 
- Side channel attacks: power analysis and resistant designs
 - Wireless ID: ISO14443, Mifare, E-Passports and related near-field communications systems
 - Card security, EMV payment systems, GSM and SIM cards
 - Physical security: chip and pin machines - Wired and WiFi network security 
- Examples of weak cryptosystems: GSM, WEP
 - Infrastructure attacks: smart grids - Trusted Computing and secure modules - Hardware Trojans and Trustworthy IC design

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures are used to deliver the core knowledge. Hands-on laboratory sessions are used to explore the practical aspects of security of cyber physical devices. Further reading and code practice outside the lectures and laboratories will be essential.

Completion of assessment task46
Follow-up work18
Wider reading or practice22
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Gollmann, D. (2011). Computer Security. 

Anderson, R. J. (2008). Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems. 

Ross J Anderson (2008). Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems. 

Eilam, E. (2005). Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering. 


Assessment Strategy

There will be four assessed practical laboratories, related to the topics taught in the module. Any externally repeating students will need to be present in Southampton during the exam period at the end of the relevant semester. At this time, they will be offered the opportunity to repeat the assessed laboratories.


MethodPercentage contribution
Laboratory Report 25%
Laboratory Report 25%
Laboratory Report 25%
Laboratory Report 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Laboratory Report 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Laboratory Report 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: ELEC1201 or COMP1202

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