Queen's School of Computing

CISC 490 Topics in Computing Science

A topic for the 2019-20 academic year is Introduction to Cybersecurity (grad course is CISC866).

An introduction to cybersecurity covering a wide range of vulnerabilities, attacks, and defence mechanisms in individual computers, networks, the Internet and the Web and applications that use them, and storage and computational clouds. The human side of cybersecurity, and the legal and ethical constraints on both attack and defence.



  • Authentication (passwords, tokens)
  • Cryptography (encryption, public key, certificates)
  • Malware and software security (worms, viruses)
  • Web attack and defence (browsers, phishing, drive-by downloads)
  • Operating system attack and defence (secure design, rootkits)
  • Network attack and defence (interception, denial of service, encryption, VPNs, firewalls, IDSs)
  • Cloud attack and defence
  • Privacy
  • Human factors and social engineering
  • Ethics and legal issues

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course a student will be able to:

  • LO1: Design cybersecurity attacks and defences for systems and networks;
  • LO2: Analyse the threat surface of a computer system or network, and design remediation mechanisms that will be effective;
  • LO3: Discuss the relationship between cybersecurity issues and wider human factors, social, political and legal frameworks.


Pfleeger, Pfleeger,, Analyzing Computer Security, Prentice-Hall.