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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Undergraduate Course: Usable Security and Privacy (INFR11158)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryHumans are a vital component of secure and private systems, they are also one of the most expensive components and the most challenging to reason about. In this course, students will learn about how to create systems that are usable while still fulfilling their primary security or privacy mission. Students will also learn about research topics such as designing user studies to critically evaluate interfaces and reading academic papers to create an academically-informed view of the topic.
Course description Introduction: History and overview of the Usable Security and Privacy research area.
Study design: Security and privacy activities tend to be secondary tasks. Students will learn how to design and analyse usability studies that are common in security and privacy such as targeting secondary tasks or ethically using some deception.
Privacy: Basic overview of the definitions of privacy as well as some of the legal and social aspects of it. Analysis of common privacy issues and how they are expressed through user interaction with systems.
Security: Overview of common security technologies and how they are impacted by usability. In- depth look at select topics such as password construction and management.
Ethics: Discussion of ethics, particularly around research in topics in security and privacy where participants can be particularly vulnerable.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Usable Security and Privacy (UG) (INFR11230)
Other requirements MSc students must register for this course, while Undergraduate students must register for INFR11230 instead.

For workload reasons, the course has pre-requisites of either a human-computer interaction course, or a computer security course. A general familiarity with computer science and programming are recommended.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesAs above.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 18, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 3, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 55 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 80 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Exam 80%
Coursework 20%
Feedback Course feedback will be solicited mid-semester using paper forms. Feedback response will be given in lecture.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Usable Security and Privacy (INFR11158)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand key topics in Security, Privacy, and Human-Computer Interaction
  2. identify privacy and security concerns in different contexts
  3. critically evaluate the literature to develop an academically-informed view of proposed security and privacy solutions from a human factors perspective
  4. design studies to rigorously evaluate the usability of a security or privacy tool
  5. apply techniques and design approaches to security and privacy problems to create usable solutions
Reading List
Required readings will be primarily from open access papers.

The below readings [1] and [2] are textbooks which summarize key research papers in the area and are therefore highly recommended. [3] and [4] are the textbooks for Computer Security and HCI respectfully and are recommended for students who need more background in those subjects:
1. Usable Security: History, Themes, and Challenges by Simson Garfinkel and Heather Richter Lipford
2. Security and Usability: Designing Secure Systems that People Can Use by Lorrie Cranor and Simson Garfinkel
3. Introduction to Computer Security Goodrich et al.
4. Human-Computer Interaction by Dix, Finlay, Abowd and Reale
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Be able to identify and handle situations involving potential breaches of privacy and ethics
Develop skills reading research papers and critically analysing their study methodologies
Be able to identify and handle situations involving potential breaches of privacy and ethics
Develop skills reading research papers and critically analysing their study methodologies
KeywordsHuman-Computer Interaction,Cyber Security,Privacy,Human Factors of Privacy and Security,USec
Course organiserDr Jingjie Li
Course secretaryMs Lindsay Seal
Tel: (0131 6)50 2701
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