Computer security


This module deals with the more technical means of making a computing system secure.

This process starts with defining the proper security requirements, which are usually stated as a security policy. Security models formalise those policies and may serve as a reference to check the correctness of an implementation. The main security features and mechanisms in operating systems will be examined as well as security related issues of computer architecture. Specific well-known operating systems are then studied as case studies. Other areas investigated include the security of middleware, software protection and web security.

Topics covered

  • Your computer
  • Computer security theory
  • Operating system case studies
  • Software and application security

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the importance of security models with reference to the security of computer systems.
  • describe the features and security mechanisms which are generally used to implement security policies.
  • provide examples of the implementation of such features and mechanisms within particular operating systems.
  • display a breadth of knowledge of the security vulnerabilities affecting computer systems.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the main issues relating to web security in the context of computer systems.


This module is assessed by a two-hour unseen written examination.

Essential reading

  • Computer Security 3rd Ed. (Gollman)