COSC421-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Advanced Topics in Security

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course will cover the wide-ranging issues on advanced topics in computer, network, and systems security. Students will learn from security fundamentals to advanced topics in security.

In 2020 we will build on the work of COSC362 in which you learnt a lot about the fundamentals and theoretical foundations of cryptography including public and private key encryption, authentication, digital signature, digital certificates etc as well as the need for security for stored and transmitted data and for security in systems which have the potential to operate with 5G networks.

There are three topics to this paper as follows:
Topic 1. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). You will build 4 types of VPNs in the lab using the cryptographic functions studied in COSC362. These are: OpenVPN, SSL-VPN, IPSec-VPN and IKEv2-VPN. You will test their operation with servers, firewalls and mobile client devices such as laptops and mobile phones. This work will run in a specialist cybersecurity lab.

Topics 2. IoT (IN)Security. IoT devices are becoming widely used in home automation, offices and in SCADA systems. We will experiment with IoT devices such as switches, lights, thermostats, video cameras, doorlocks, music players, video door bells etc. In particular we will see how traffic between the mobile device and IoT device can be intercepted and modified and in certain circumstances take control of these systems whether they operate with TCP, UDP, Wifi, or Bluetooth. As a result of this work it will become apparent that an authentication framework is essential if these devices are to be operated safely in a 5G network. This work will also run in a specialist cybersecurity lab.

Topics 3:
Yet to be decided.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
· understand and explain the concept of security as applied to VPN (Virtual Private Network operation).
· set up and test VPN operations that are immune to cybersecurity attacks.
· understand the operation of IoT devices such as switches, lights, thermostats, video cameras, doorlocks, music players, video door bells
· develop systems to intercept and modify the operation of TCP, UDP, Wifi, Cloud and Bluetooth IoT devices.
. propose ideas on how IoT systems might be made secure in order that they can operate safely in 5G networks.


(1) COSC362 and (2) subject to approval by the Head of Department

Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 16:00 - 18:00 - (24/3, 21/4-26/5)
A7 (18/2-17/3)
17 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 31 May

Course Coordinator

Richard Green


Ray Hunt and Clementine Gritti


Updated Semester One 2020 assessment deadlines and details will be available once finalised.

Additional Course Outline Information

Assessment and grading system

Assessment: 60% Assignments, 40% Final Exam

Grade moderation

The Computer Science department's grading policy states that in order to pass a course you must meet two requirements:
1. You must achieve an average grade of at least 50% over all assessment items.
2. You must achieve an average mark of at least 45% on invigilated assessment items.
If you satisfy both these criteria, your grade will be determined by the following University- wide scale for converting marks to grades: an average mark of 50% is sufficient for a C- grade, an average mark of 55% earns a C grade, 60% earns a B- grade and so forth. However if you do not satisfy both the passing criteria you will be given either a D or E grade depending on marks. Marks are sometimes scaled to achieve consistency between courses from year to year.

Students may apply for special consideration if their performance in an assessment is affected by extenuating circumstances beyond their control.

Applications for special consideration should be submitted via the Examinations Office website within five days of the assessment.

Where an extension may be granted for an assessment, this will be decided by direct application to the Department and an application to the Examinations Office may not be required.

Special consideration is not available for items worth less than 10% of the course.

Students prevented by extenuating circumstances from completing the course after the final date for withdrawing, may apply for special consideration for late discontinuation of the course. Applications must be submitted to the Examinations Office within five days of the end of the main examination period for the semester.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,022.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 5 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Computer Science and Software Engineering.

All COSC421 Occurrences

  • COSC421-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020