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Unit of study_

ELEC5616: Computer and Network Security

This unit examines the basic cryptographic building blocks of security, working through to their applications in authentication, key exchange, secret and public key encryption, digital signatures, protocols and systems. It then considers these applications in the real world, including models for integrity, authentication, electronic cash, viruses, firewalls, electronic voting, risk assessment, secure web browsers and electronic warfare. Practical cryptosystems are analysed with regard to the assumptions with which they were designed, their limitations, failure modes and ultimately why most end up broken.


Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Unit code ELEC5616
Unit name Computer and Network Security
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Assumed knowledge

A programming language, basic maths.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Philip Leong,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Final Exam
50% Formal exam period 48 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4
Tutorial quiz Quiz 1
1.25% Week 06 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Project 1
9% Week 06 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Assignment group assignment Project 2
9% Week 10 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Tutorial quiz Quiz 2
1.25% Week 11 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Project 3
7% Week 12 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Assignment Assignments
10% Week 13 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4
Assignment group assignment Wargames
12.5% Week 13 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

50% Final exam

50% Quiz/Assignment

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Please contact lecturer well ahead of time if you experience difficulties meeting submission deadlines.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction; 2. HMACs Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 02 1. Cyphers and cryptanalysis attacks; 2. PRNGs and DES Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 03 1. Cypher modes of operation; 2. Attacks on DES Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 04 1. Key management; 2. Number theory for Diffie-Hellman; 3. Number theory for public key cryptography Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 05 1. Digital signatures; 2. Attacks on RSA Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 06 Authentication Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 07 Cryptographic Protocols Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 08 1. Network security; 2. Overview of SSL/TLS Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 09 1. Bitcoins; 2. Network Protocols 1 Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 10 1. Web security 2. Network protocols 2 Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 11 1. Hardware security; 2. Wireless security; 3. The politics of crypto Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 12 1. Quantum cryptography; 2. Software security; 3. Revision Lecture (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Assumed knowledge: A programming language, basic maths.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • William Stallings, Cryptography and Network Security: Principles and Practice (4th). Prentice Hall, 1999. 0130914290. 
  • A. Menezes, P. Van Oorscho, S. Vanstone, Handbook of Applied Cryptography (5th). CRC Press, 0-8493-8523-7.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate the ability to write reports and make presentations on the complexity of security system design and its related performance, using clear and accurate terms and a language commensurate with the expected level of understanding by stakeholders
  • LO2. demonstrate the ability to work in a team, taking up clear roles and responsibilities while drawing on skills and knowledge of other team members in order to deliver specific engineering work
  • LO3. demonstrate the ability to compare and contrast practical cryptosystems and the assumptions with which they were designed to determine their failure modes and to design a cryptosystem to a specification
  • LO4. demonstrate the ability to appraise applicability and value of cryptography in authentication, key exchange, secret and public key encryption, digital signatures, protocols and systems
  • LO5. demonstrate proficient use of software system knowledge and cryptography in designing and evaluating security schemes
  • LO6. demonstrate the ability to undertake inquiry and knowledge development by first identifying the limits of the available information on security systems and then effectively searching and synthesising the information most pertinent.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No significant changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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