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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

COMP3223 Cryptography

10 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr Toni Lassila

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23


COMP1511Introduction to Discrete Mathematics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides a thorough introduction to cryptography and its applications. We cover the mathematical foundations of cryptography and discuss modern cryptosystems in detail. This includes both symmetric and public-key systems like AES and RSA and their usage and applications in digital signatures and complex cryptographic protocols like digital money and electronic voting.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
-Know and apply fundamental cryptographic techniques and algorithms.
-Understand and apply the principles of modern symmetric and public-key cryptosystems and further cryptographic primitives such as hash functions.
-Apply appropriate known cryptographic techniques for a given scenario.
-Understand the dangers of inventing one’s own cryptographic methods.
-Explain how key exchange protocols work and how they fail.
-Explain how Public Key Infrastructure supports digital signing and encryption and discuss the limitations/vulnerabilities.
-Discuss the importance of modular arithmetic and prime numbers in cryptography and explain their use in cryptographic algorithms.
-Explain the role of random numbers in security, beyond just cryptography (eg password generation, randomized algorithms)
-Describe quantum cryptography and the impact of quantum computing on cryptographic algorithms.
-Describe likely attacker types against a particular system.
-Describe risks to privacy and anonymity in commonly used applications.
-Describe real-world applications of cryptographic primitives and protocols.
-Discuss cryptographic protocols and their properties.

Learning outcomes
1. Understand and apply in practice the fundamental principles of cryptography and information security.

2. Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of cryptosystems.

3. Apply mathematical analysis to understand how symmetric and asymmetric cryptosystems are constructed.

4. Make appropriate use of the academic literature on cryptography.

5. Understand the future developments of cryptosystems and their security implications and use this information to advise their professional career.


Cryptographic goals. Cryptanalysis of classical ciphers, Modern symmetric crpytosystems: DES, AES and its operation modes.
Mathematical foundations of public-key cryptography: modular arithmetic, Extended Euclidean Algorithm, efficient exponentiation, prime number generation, Chinese Remainder Theorem, Miller-Rabin test.
Public-key cryptography: RSA, ElGamal, Diffie-Hellman key exchange. Digital signatures, Hash functions, Quantum cryptography and the impact of quantum computing.
Different types of attacks, Classification of cryptosystems in terms of security, Cryptographic design principles, Applications and cryptographic protocols: digital money, secure elections

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours68.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative assessment will be provided as part of the two pieces of coursework.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentExercises20.00
In-course AssessmentExercises20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

This module will be reassessed by an online time-limited assessment.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

This module will be reassessed by an online time-limited assessment.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/06/2022 16:59:02


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