Undergraduate Course: Security Engineering (INFR11208)
|School||School of Informatics
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course aims to give students a thorough understanding of how to engineer security in modern systems. We discuss threat actors from nation states through cybercrime gangs to abuse by family members. We dive into detailed case studies of applications such as payment networks and vehicle systems. We analyse the protection mechanisms of platforms they rely on, such as smartcards, mobile phones and cloud systems. We work through multiple perspectives: classical systems engineering, the psychology of users good and bad, and the incentives facing different actors in the system. This enables students to take a holistic view of security as an emergent property of complex systems, and of related properties such as safety, and to understand how to manage them as systems and their environments evolve.
As ever more devices participate in online systems that become ever more complex, it is ever more important,and more difficult, to manage emergent properties such as security, safety and sustainability. Security engineering is not just about individual mechanisms such as cryptography and access controls but how they work together at scale in real systems. This course will illustrate how to analyse threats and hazards systematically, evolve security policies, integrate them with safety policies and accounting standards as need be, test and certify the resulting systems, and manage their evolution as vulnerabilities are discovered or as their requirements change over time.
Over the course of 15 lectures we will study how real systems are attacked by a variety of opponents and how their defences evolve to cope. We will look in detail at important applications such as payments, home automation and vehicles. We will look at the psychology of secure design: how we can minimise the risk of attacks involving deception. We will analyse the economics of security: when service providers have adequate incentives to prevent fraud, and where market failure or poor regulation get in the way.
We will take a deep dive into the protection mechanisms of the underlying platforms, from smartcards through mobile phones to containers, and at whole ecosystems such as phone apps, cloud services and network security. By the end of the course, students should be able to analyse a security problem across the entire systems stack, from the threats and protection goals down through the application and the platforms and if need be to the hardware. They should also appreciate how security interacts with related emergent properties such as safety and sustainability.
There will also be three lectures providing feed forward and feedback, a guest lecture and two structured literature-review exercises set as coursework.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
|| It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed
Research Methods in Security, Privacy, and Trust (INFR11188) OR
Computer Security (INFR10067)
||Other requirements|| We assume a basic understanding of access controls, cryptography and security protocols, as well as of usability and distributed systems. A student who has not taken courses on these topics, and in particular anyone who has not taken either Computer Security (INFR10067) or Security, Privacy and Trust (INFR11188), must become familiar with the material by reading chapters 1-7, 9 and 11 of Ross Anderson's Security Engineering (3rd Edition) before the start of this course.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||We assume a basic understanding of access controls, cryptography and security protocols, as well as of usability and distributed systems. A student who has not taken courses on these topics, and in particular anyone who has not taken either Computer Security (INFR10067) or Security, Privacy and Trust (INFR11188), must become familiar with the material by reading chapters 1-7, 9 and 11 of Ross Anderson's Security Engineering (3rd Edition) before the start of this course.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 16,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam 70%
||Feed-forward and feedback hours will be used to give students feedback on the literature reviews. For the literature review, we will also give about one sentence of feedback on each aspect of the exercise.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Security Engineering (INFR11208)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify ways of attacking a real-world system, leading to a threat model, a security policy, protection goals and assurance targets.
- Use adversarial thinking to analyse the relationships between threats, hazards, actors and defence mechanisms.
- Compare and synthesise the perspectives of different system stakeholders and threat actors, using economic and psychological viewpoints as well as technical ones.
- Demonstrate critical thinking about unsolved problems, residual risk and emerging threats as systems scale or their environment changes.
|Ross Anderson, Security Engineering: A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems, Wiley (Third Edition 2020)|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Sam Ainsworth
|Course secretary||Miss Clara Fraser