COIT13240 - Applied Cryptography

General Information

Unit Synopsis

In this unit, you will learn techniques for securing information and communications against adversaries, in particular with regards to confidentiality, integrity and authentication. Informed by the history of cryptography, you will learn the cryptographic primitives that are used to secure information today such as symmetric key encryption, message authentication codes, public key cryptography and digital signatures. You will also study future issues in cryptography, including the challenges raised by quantum computing. While you will learn and use basic mathematics, this unit will focus on cryptographic concepts relevant to cyber security specialists, rather than the mathematical underpinnings of the algorithms. This practical treatment of cryptography will be highlighted in laboratory tasks, where you will use software to attack and secure information in various realistic scenarios.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Pre-requisite: COIT12202 Network Security Concepts

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

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Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2024

Term 1 - 2024 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

This information will not be available until 8 weeks before term.
To see assessment details from an earlier availability, please search via a previous term.

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2022 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 100.00% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 44.44% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Student feedback
Regular tests are difficult and stressful (due to limited time and questions that have not been seen before)
Adjust the number of questions and/or time limit in tests, and include unassessed practice tests early in the term so students can see the style of questions.
Action Taken
Each test had questions modified so about one question less to answer, and some questions were very similar to unassessed quizzes. This resulted in an increase in test scores compared to last year.
Source: Student feedback and reflection of Unit Coordinator
Security project was very time consuming, due to using a new language and having many features to implement
Restructure the project to cover more design tasks (and less Python implementation), as well as reduce the variety of features required (but increase the depth of those features).
Action Taken
More code was supplied to students so they could focus on applying the algorithms to problem solve, rather than implementing those algorithms. Also, the number of required features was reduced and more marks were allocated to test results and discussion, rather than implementation. These changes resulted in fewer questions about implementation details.
Source: Unit evaluation
The connection between the knowledge/skills gained in this unit and career paths of graduates is not clear.
Allocate more time explaining the importance of cryptography to cyber security professionals, referring to, for example, the NIST Workforce Framework for Cyber Security and job advertisements.
Action Taken
Source: Unit Coordinator reflection
A lot of time is spent on understanding ciphers, but their relevance to current and future technologies is not clear.
Include more examples of where ciphers are used in practice today, e.g. iPhone hardware security, end-to-end encrypted messaging, and blockchains.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes
This information will not be available until 8 weeks before term.
To see Learning Outcomes from an earlier availability, please search via a previous term.