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Introduction to Cyber Security


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Cyber space is a critical dimension of our modern world. Our critical infrastructure is now largely represented by cyber-physical systems. Organizations constantly face cyber attacks, and governments are concerned about cyber warfare. As citizens of this cyber space we have to worry about security of our devices and privacy of our personal data.

In this course we will study the main issues in cyber security. We will discover the main principles of security, investigate trade-offs that security entails, and discuss some of the most important topics in secure cyber space.

This course is intended for students who are interested in technological aspects of cyber security, but may lack solid background in Computer Science.

We will study the core security principles and requirements, and we will investigate the main pitfalls in system and software design (vulnerabilities) and the established techniques to ensure security (defenses). We will approach security at different levels: from basic cryptographic schemes and software vulnerabilities to secure systems and security in organizations. We will also discuss privacy, and we will look into legal and ethical aspects in security.

Course objectives

  • Students are familiar with the main concepts and principles of cyber security.

  • Students can identify technical security requirements for different types of systems and understand the trade-offs that arise due to these requirements.

  • Students understand the socio-technical view on security and privacy that encompasses not only technical but also societal aspects.


Mode of instruction

Lectures, assignments, exam.

Assessment method

  • There will be written examination with short questions and 3 assignments.

  • The final mark will be the weighted average of the exam and the assignments: 50% exam + 50% average assignments. Both components need to be at least 5.0 and the final grade should be at least 5.5 to pass the course.

  • It will be possible to re-take the exam.

  • In case the teaching process will still be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, these rules might be subject to change.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list

Recommended textbook: Ross Anderson “Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems”. Information is available here https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/book.html
Note that this textbook is recommended, but not required.

Other literature and reading materials will be announced during the course.


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Onderwijscoördinator Informatica, Riet Derogee


Interest in information technology and its security issues is desired.