COSC421-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022

Advanced Topics in Security

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


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.

2022 Covid-19 Update: Please refer to the course page on AKO | Learn for all information about your course, including lectures, labs, tutorials and assessments.

Section 1: Ray Hunt – 8 weeks

These four topics are fundamental to applied cybersecurity and students will be provided with background fundamentals and will then design and test Wireless/Mobile, VPNs, IoT and Smartcard Systems in the cybersecurity lab.

•Wireless/Mobile LANs – vulnerabilities. Wireless Enterprise Architecture – design, setup and testing, Android and Bluetooth vulnerabilities,

• VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) – design and setting up of VPNs for secure cloud access. We will build two types of VPNs in the lab selected from - OpenVPN, Quantum Computing VPNs, IPSec-VPN and IKEv2-VPN. We will test their operation with servers, firewalls and mobile client devices such as laptops and mobile phones.

• 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, door locks, and music players. In particular we will see how traffic between the mobile device and IoT device can be intercepted and modified and in certain circumstances one can take control of these systems.

• Smartcard technology is used in ticketing systems such as Oyster, Octopus, Snapper, Metro, Myki, Gallagher access and for contactless payment. libnfc is a software library run out of Kali Linux and used for smartcards. A set of python scripts will be used for carrying out basic security analysis functions on smartcards such as reading, writing and cracking.

All four of these topics will run in the specialist cybersecurity lab – Room 339 Erskine Building

Section 2: Richard Green – 4 weeks

• Anomaly Detection uses machine learning techniques to detect and extract undesirable traffic out of data sets and is the basis for combating DOS (Denial of Service) attacks. This topic will involve the development of software to demonstrate how such a security analysis tool can be used
• Deep Learning techniques can be used to detect and resolve images. This topic will apply such techniques to drone operation.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

o understand and explain the concepts of wireless and mobile security
o design and test VPNs for cloud operation which are immune to cyber-attacks
o understand the operation of IoT devices and how interception and modification of traffic can occur and be protected against
o work with and understand smartcard security
o develop anomaly detection tool sets using machine learning concepts for Denial of Service attacks
o apply deep learning techniques to object imagery and for security of drone operation


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

Timetable Note

Please note that the course activity times advertised here are curently in draft form, to be finalised on Monday 31 January 2022 for S1 and whole year courses, and Monday 27 June 2022 for S2 courses. Please do hold off enquiries about these times till those finalisation dates.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Richard Green


Ray Hunt


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Assignments 60%
Final Exam 40%

Updated Semester One 2022 assessment deadlines and details will be available once finalised.

2022 Covid-19 Update: Please refer to the course page on AKO | Learn for all information about your course, including lectures, labs, tutorials and assessments.

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 C+ 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 $1,051.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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

  • COSC421-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022