COMPSCI 316 : Cyber Security


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Introduces various concepts related to software, system and network security. Covers a range of topics including attacks on privacy and attack surface, static and dynamic analysis of malware, hardware security (trusted computing base, secure boot, and attestation), network security and some hot topics in cryptography including elliptic curve, blockchain and bitcoin.

Course Overview

The course introduces various concepts related to software, system and network security. It covers a range of topics including attacks on privacy and attack surface, static and dynamic analysis of malware, hardware security, network security, and some hot topics including blockchain and bitcoin.

This course is good preparation for anyone wanting to do postgraduate study in cybersecurity. The skills developed in this course are particularly useful for those wishing to have a career in cybersecurity.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: COMPSCI 210, 215

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify threats to software, systems, and communication networks. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  2. Describe countermeasures for protecting software, systems, and communication networks. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. Explain the concept of trusted computing including trusted computing base and attack surface and the principle of minimising trusted computing base. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  4. Analyse and describe cyber security fundamentals. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Evaluate security at the systems level. (Capability 2)
  6. Discuss the concept of the root of trust and the process of secure boot and secure loading. (Capability 2)
  7. Identify and evaluate the most common vulnerabilities and attacks. (Capability 2 and 3)
  8. Discuss the limitations of malware countermeasures (e.g., signature-based detection, behavioural detection). (Capability 2 and 3)
  9. Analyse network security protocols and their real life applications including Aotearoa security breaches. (Capability 2, 3 and 6)
  10. Capable to design and develop secure applications that will be peer-vetted. (Capability 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Test 20% Individual Test
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Final Exam

Key Topics

  • Cryptography
  • Privacy and anonymity
  • Software security
  • System security
  • Network security
  • Blockchain and bitcoin

Special Requirements


Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 36 hours of lectures, 10-hour tutorials, 35 hours for assignments, and 60 hours of reading and thinking about the content.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including tutorials to receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including group discussions and tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the test and final exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Computer Security: Principles and Practice
Fourth Edition
William Stallings and Lawrie Brown
Pearson Higher Ed USA
ISBN 1292220635

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode.
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.  The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: lectures and tutorials.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 29/01/2021 09:46 a.m.