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Introduction to Cyber Security


Admission requirements

This course is part of the minor Cyber Security and Government Essentials.


As the digital world and physical world become more and more interconnected, it becomes increasingly important to develop methods to maintain security in the digital world. Governments, corporations and individuals all have different cyber security needs, and how we meet those needs is of critical importance in our modern world.

In this course, we will study the main issues surrounding cyber security. We will study the core principles of cyber security, debate the trade-off implications of different methodologies, and discuss critical topics that are relevant to our current understanding of cyber security.

More specifically, we will focus on:

  • Applied cryptography and key management

  • User authentication and identity management

  • Operating system security

  • Web security and cloud security

  • Network security

  • Risk management, policy, economics

  • Adversary goals, sociology, organization

  • Privacy, anonymity, and censorship

This course is intended for students with a strong interest in security topics. While a background in computer science broadly may be beneficial, it is not expected nor required.

Course objectives

  • Students will develop an awareness of the main concepts and principles of cyber security.

    • Understanding of the key vocabulary
    • Understanding of basic attack structures
    • Understanding of basic defense structures
  • Students will identify technical security requirements for different types of systems and understand the trade-offs that arise due to these requirements.

    • Students can analyze structures for security requirements
    • Students can argue for the necessity of some security requirements over
  • Students will 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. Please 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

Lecture, discussion, assignments and exam

Assessment method

  • There will be a written examination with closed and open questions.

  • For the assignments, there will be one project and up to 5 smaller homeworks.

  • The final grade for the course will be the weight average of 60% examination and 40% 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 retake the exam.

  • It will not be possible to resubmit assignments.

  • Assignments must be submitted via Brightspace, no other submission method will be allowed.

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”. 3rd ed. Information is available here
Note that this textbook is recommended, but not required.

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


Note: Registration in EduXcange does not directly mean that you can participate in the minor. You will receive an e-mail that confirms your registration and placement.

Questions about registration should be sent to


The primary contact for this course is N.D. Schiele.

Additionally, Dr. O. Gadyatskaya can be contacted.

Please direct all questions about registration to


Interest in information technology and its security issues is desired.

When you register for a certain course, you automatically receive access to the environment of this course via Brightspace.

For more information about Brightspace, click on this link to view the university manuals. If you have any other questions or problems, you can contact the helpdesk of Leiden University.