Module details for Introduction to Security


This module introduces students to the broad area of computer security within the context of current legal frameworks.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with knowledge of the issues and practicalities involved in securing computer systems and the framework within which computer security specialists (for example an ethical hacker or digital forensic investigator) would need to operate.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Describe the fundamental laws that relate to computer security

2.  Describe some techniques that can be used to improve or evade computer security defences

3.  Conduct an investigation into an area of computer security within a legal framework

Indicative Content

1 Relevant laws and ethical framework

Computer misuse act, copyright act and data protection act will be explored. Discussion of the issues and constraints that these laws pose to computer security experts. How computer security experts can ensure they are working within the constraints of the law. Consideration of the ethical issues.

2 Security models

Discussion of various different security models, for example the CIA triad and Parkerian Hexad. Understanding of the different ‘nodes’ in an organisation which can impact on security.

3 Techniques for improving computer security defences

The role of firewalls, IDS/IPS and honeynets in security. Antivirus limitations. Acceptable use policies and password policies. The role of education in security. Physical security measures

4 Techniques for evading computer security defences

Various difference attack strategies for example phishing, spearphishing, social engineering will be explored. Tools such as the social engineering toolkit will be explored.

5 Malware

Types of viruses and worms. Writing simple viruses using virus creation kits. Anti-virus and anti-malware methodologies for malware removal

6 Command Line Kung Fu

Commands that a hacker can use to manipulate a comprised computer. Information gathering commands, file transfer commands, computer defence manipulation (e.g. firewall and anti-virus manipulation)

7 Passwords

Password cracking. The importance of developing a good password. Techniques for password management. Uses of Dictionary, brute force, hybrid techniques. Cracking passwords (NetBIOS, web server). Password guessing. Rainbow tables. Password alternatives.

8 Command Line Tools

Using python to create our own network tools, for example TCP and UDP host discovery, packet sniffing, ICMP


Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Practical Activity 42
Assessment 60
Independent 86
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.