The University of Southampton

COMP6224 Foundations of Cyber Security

Module Overview

This compulsory 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 & Objectives


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

Subject Specific Intellectual

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;
  • Principles of secure communications; digital signatures, PKI, encryption, hashing.
  • Cryptography; crypto-primitives and ciphers;
  • Introduction to biometrics;
  • Privacy and anonymity protocols;
  • Crowds, onion routing, ToR;
  • Data management - anonymisation and de-anonymisation;
  • Access control; authentication techniques;
  • Passwords and password analysis; 
  • Social engineering; phishing; 
  • Security assurance and evaluation; 
  • Offensive cyber-attacks; cyber war; hacktivism;
  • Advanced Persistent Threats;
  • Critical infrastructures;
  • 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 & Teaching

Learning & teaching methods

  • Lecture - 36 hours per semester
  • Seminar - 8 hours per semester
LectureModule lectures24
SeminarGuest seminars by expert speakers.8
TutorialTutorials to support coursework and lecture material4


Assessment methods

MethodHoursPercentage contribution
Coursework related to the foundations of Cyber security -30%
Exam120 mins hours70%

Referral Method: By examination

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