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Admission requirements

Not applicable.


Livelihoods of modern societies depend on security of their infrastructure. Almost every day we hear news about recent data breaches at organizations and attacks on critical infrastructure. As users, we are constantly worried about security of our computers and privacy of our personal data. It is thus essential to know the fundamental security concepts and understand which protections are afforded to us by our systems. Moreover, for computer scientists it is necessary to be familiar with the key principles of secure design. This is what this course is about.

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.

The course will include practical, hands-on assignments.

Course objectives

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

  • Students can identify technical security requirements for different types of systems and can propose suitable protection mechanisms.

  • Students are familiar with a range of security tools and techniques.

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


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudymap will automatically be displayed in MyTimetable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Pleas note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, practicals, assignments, exam

Total hours of study: 168 hrs. (= 6 EC). Of those (ca.):

  • 26 hrs of lectures

  • 26 hrs of practicals

  • 3 hrs written exam

  • 113 hrs work on assignments and self-study

Assessment method

  • There will be 3 practical assignments and a written exam, each evaluated on scale 0-10

  • The assignments are optional, and they contribute with 10% to the final grade each; if an assignment is not delivered it is graded with zero (0) and it cannot be retaken

  • Final grade = 70% exam + 30% average assignments

  • It will be possible to re-take the exam

  • Assignments have deadlines and are not re-takeable, unless in exceptional circumstances (to be discussed individually with the lecturer)

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

Reading list

Literature and reading materials will be announced during the course.
Recommended (but not required) textbook: Paul C. van Oorschot "Computer Security and the Internet. Tools and Jewels from Malware to Bitcoin" Springer 2021 authors book page


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudymap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to register for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course.

Extensive FAQ on MyStudymap can be found here.


Education coordinator LIACS bachelors


Not applicable.