COMPSCI 727 : Cryptographic Management


2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Focuses on cryptographic systems used in securing communications and data storage. Provides an overview of encryption algorithms including symmetric key cryptography, public key infrastructure, digital signatures and certificate technologies. The course covers management issues related to cryptography and explores current research and developments in this area. Recommended preparation: COMPSCI 210 or MATHS 120

Course Overview

The course introduces the building blocks of cryptography and the use and deployment of cryptographic systems used in securing communications and data storage. It provides an overview of encryption algorithms and the technologies and systems that support them including symmetric key cryptography, public key infrastructure, digital signatures, and certificate technologies. As a part of this overview, this course will concentrate on the management issues of algorithm selection; encryption key generation, distribution, and revocation; and strategies for overcoming encryption security vulnerabilities and their associated breaches. The course also discusses best practices and compliance with national and international standards and explores the current research and developments in this area.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain the concepts of symmetric cryptography, public-key cryptography, hash functions, and digital signature (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of formal security notions and understand their relationship with actual attacks on real-world systems (Capability 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8)
  3. Describe several encryption and signature algorithms, and know when to use them (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Apply and manage cryptographic systems used in securing communications and data storage (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  5. Identify management issues of the lifecycle of the crypto material (encryption key generation, distribution, and revocation) (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 8)
  6. Communicate technical ideas in both verbal and written form (Capability 1, 6 and 8)
  7. Be able to collaborate in a group and coordinate effort to develop and express key security concepts to an aucdience (Capability 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 1 8% Individual Coursework
Assignment 2 8% Individual Coursework
Assignment 3 8% Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Group Coursework
Final Report 16% Group & Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Assignment 3
Final Report
Final Exam


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Key Topics

Key topics that will be covered include:
  • Symmetric Encryption - block and stream ciphers, modes of operation, hashing
  • Asymmetric Encryption - RSA, Elgamal, Diffie-Hellman, Ellptic curves, PKI, Digital Signatures
  • Security and attack models and countermeasures - IND-CCA
  • Key Management and Distribution
  • Crypto-systems
This is a self-contained course in Applied Cryptography and all important technical ideas are explained in the lecture notes and during lectures. In particular, the lectures in the first weeks contain an overview of some basic mathematical concepts such as modular arithmetic and simple probability. However, the following general knowledge is assumed (typically covered in the first and second year of a computer science degree):
  • bits, bytes, words, basic logic operations (and, or, not)
  • basic algebra, laws of exponents, primes, functions
  • algorithms, complexity
  • computer programs, compilation, executables
  • data structures, arrays, computer memory, cache
  • operating systems
  • networks

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 3 hours of lectures, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

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

Learning 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.

Some recommended readings:
  • A Graduate Course in Applied Cryptography, Dan Boneh and Victor ShoupLinks to an external site.
  • Cryptography, An Introduction : Third Edition, Nigel P. Smart. Links to an external site.
  • Everyday Cryptography, Keith M. Martin
  • Cryptography engineering : design principles and practical applications, Niels Ferguson, Bruce Schneier, Tadayoshi Kohno

Also, you may use Piazza for class discussion. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, I encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email

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.

  • More worked examples relating to assignment or exam questions will be covered
  • A larger focus will be placed on collaborative group work with requirements for the group seminar and final report being published earlier in the semester to allow students to prepare.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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 course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 07/11/2023 08:09 a.m.