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The University of Southampton

COMP6236 Software Security

Module Overview

This module focuses on both theoretical and practical perspectives in the security of software and software systems, by exploring software analysis and reverse engineering. 
The aims of the module at a high level are to: 
- Explore common threats to the secure operation of software systems 
- Give students exposure to software system analysis and penetration of software systems - Provide practical skills in malware analysis and reverse engineering

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Common issues affecting the security of software systems
  • Software analysis
  • Reverse Engineering of Software
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe specific methods for exploiting software systems
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognise software vulnerabilities and protection in a range of application domains
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify security weaknesses in software systems and applications
  • Undertake basic reverse engineering of software


The syllabus includes the following topics:
 - Understanding software threats and hazards, types of attack and attacker - Software Vulnerabilities (memory violation, input validation, privilege escalation) - OS vulnerabilities: patch management, rootkits and viruses - Penetration testing of software systems - Malware analysis - Static/dynamic analysis of software systems - Reverse engineering of suspicious code

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered through up to 36 lectures, which will include at least two regular lectures each week, in addition to tutorial and practical sessions. The tutorial and practical sessions are designed to support students and prepare them to take the assignment.

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

Resources & Reading list

Eldad Eilam (2005). Reversing: Secrets of Reverse Engineering. 

Dieter Gollman (2011). Computer Security. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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