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The University of Southampton

COMP6224 Foundations of Cyber Security

Module Overview

This module aims to give an overview of cyber security. The module will equip students with a clear view of the current cyber security landscape considering not only technical measures and defences, but also the other subject areas that apply, including legal, management, crime, risk, social and human factors. Lectures will be given by staff from the University's Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security with invited expert speakers from industry. Case studies are used to reinforce the concepts being introduced.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The importance of taking a multi-disciplinary approach to cyber security
  • The cyber threat landscape, both in terms of recent emergent issues and those issues which recur over time
  • The roles and influences of governments, commercial and other organisations, citizens and criminals in cyber security affairs
  • General principles and strategies that can be applied to systems to make them more robust to attack
  • Key factors in cyber security from different disciplinary views including computer science, management, law, criminology, and social sciences
  • Issues surrounding privacy, anonymity and pervasive passive monitoring
  • Managing security incidents, including digital forensic principles
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse case studies, to reinforce the different disciplinary perspectives of cyber security


The syllabus includes the following topics: The cyber security threat landscape; history and evolution - Security surfaces; intelligence, case studies, trend analysis - Actors in cyber security; governments, organisations, citizens, criminals - The multidisciplinary nature of cyber security - ISPs as intermediaries; DPI Cryptography; Privacy; Anonymity - Principles of secure communications; digital signatures, PKI, encryption, hashing - Foundations cryptography; crypto-primitives and ciphers - Privacy and anonymity protocols - Crowds, onion routing, ToR - Data management - anonymisation and de-anonymisation Access control; authentication techniques - Passwords and password analysis - Security assurance and evaluation - Introduction to biometrics Offensive cyber-attacks; cyber war; hacktivism - Advanced Persistent Threats - Critical infrastructures - Social engineering; phishing - Security aspects of social networks, the web science perspective Management of cyber risks - Multilevel security; security policies - Security economics; investment, cost of breach - Cyber law, regulating the online environment - Computer access offences, data protection law

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture - 36 hours per semester Seminar - 8 hours per semester

Follow-up work12
Completion of assessment task60
Wider reading or practice20
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Clarke, R.A., Cyber War (2012). The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do about it,. 

Stallings, W., Brown, L. (2018). Computer Security - Principles and Practice. 

Andress, J., Cyber Warfare (2013). Techniques, Tactics and Tools for Security Practitioners. 

Graham, J.. Howard, R., Olson, R. (2011). Cyber Security Essentials. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 75%
Lab Report 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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