Cryptography Theory & Applications - COM00093M

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  • Department: Computer Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Siamak Fayyaz Shahandashti
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18

Module aims

Cryptography has a special place in security. For millennia it has been used to secure the secrecy of, for example, military or diplomatic communications. Today, cryptography has a much wider reach, providing the underpinning not only for confidentiality of communications and stored data, but also for practical means of guaranteeing claims of identity, integrity, and provenance etc.

This module provides a broad overview of types of cryptography (classical, digital, and quantum). The module pays significant attention to how algorithms are attacked, characterising the properties that allow such attacks to be effective, and so also identifying properties that an algorithm must have to resist attack. Thus, a duality between cryptographic design and cryptanalysis is established.

The module is very much hands-on with students implementing algorithms (or components thereof) and breaking them. The module is typically delivered via lectures in the mornings and practicals in the afternoons, followed by a reading session (or homework).

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student will:

  • understand what cryptography is, what it is used for, and what are the fundamental types of cryptographic and related algorithms.
  • understand classical cipher design and carry out cryptanalysis of classical ciphers. How Enigma was broken.
  • be able to apply fundamental and widely researched cryptanalysis techniques to specific cipher types. Attacks will range from exploiting structural weaknesses in algorithms (e.g. linear or differential cryptanlysis in block ciphers), through monitoring the computational context in which algorithms execute (e.g. analysis of timing and power consumption), to the exploitation of the scale of raw compute power that has emerged in recent years (e.g. use of "the cloud" , and rapidly reconfigurable hardware such as FPGAs, and GPGPU, and quantum computing).
  • be able to assess whether cryptographic components and algorithms meet identified security criteria that must be satisfied for effective resilience to attack.
  • appreciate important issues in the management of cryptographic and related services in a system.
  • appreciate legal issues of relevance to cryptography (including differences across nations).


Task Length % of module mark
Set Task Report
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Set Task Report
N/A 100

Module feedback

Information currently unavailable

Indicative reading

Applied Cryptography. Second Edition. Bruce Scheier. John Wiley and Sons.

Side Channel Cryptanalysis Lounge.

A tutorial on linear and differential cryptanaltysis (Howard Heys)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.