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FIT5124 Advanced topics in security - Semester 1, 2015

This unit aims to provide students with an advanced knowledge of IT security. Topics include design and implementation of advanced cryptosystems for high-performance applications such as low power mobile devices, cryptographic protocols for secure online computation applications such as e-voting. We will cover advanced hacking techniques, complete computer system penetration testing and defences. Further topics include advanced wireless network security, enterprise security architectures, malicious code detection and prevention systems, defence systems in depth, advanced software security, virtual system and cloud computing security, and emerging technologies such as quantum computing and cryptography. Students will do practical exercises and tasks throughout the unit.

Mode of Delivery

Caulfield (Day)

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Two hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour laboratory

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • A minimum of 8 hours independent study per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

See also Unit timetable information

Unit Relationships



Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Dr Ron Steinfeld

Consultation hours: Friday 3pm-4pm (make appointment by email).



Dr Ron Steinfeld

Consultation hours: Friday 3pm-4pm (make appointment by email)

Your feedback to Us

Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) survey. The University’s student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

For more information on Monash’s educational strategy, see:

www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/ and on student evaluations, see: www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

This is the first time this unit is being offered.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
  • explain the operation of several advanced cryptosystems and protocols and their underlying assumptions and applications;
  • apply a range of hacking and penetration testing techniques;
  • describe advanced security design issues in the context of software and network settings;
  • explain the potential security implications and limitations of emerging technologies.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Lattice-Based Cryptography I  
2 Lattice-Based Cryptography II  
3 Lattice-Based Cryptography III  
4 Secure Computation Protocols I  
5 Secure Computation Protocols II Assessment task 1 due
6 Secure Computation Protocols III  
7 Hacking Techniques I  
8 Hacking Techniques II  
9 Hacking Techniques III Assessment task 2 due
10 Forensic and Defensive Techniques I  
11 Forensic and Defensive Techniques II  
12 Emerging Technologies Assessment task 3 due
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken during SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your learning system.

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach helps students to initially encounter information at lectures, discuss and explore the information during tutorials, and practice in a hands-on lab environment

Assessment Summary

Examination (3 hours): 60%, In-semester assessment: 40%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Problems on Lattice-Based Cryptography 5% Week 5
Evaluation of Secure Computation Protocol Techniques 20% Week 9
Malware Analysis 15% Week 12
Examination 1 60% To be advised

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Problems on Lattice-Based Cryptography
    In this assignment, you will apply your knowledge on lattice-based cryptography to solve a set of problems.  

    More details will be given in the assignment specification document.
    Criteria for assessment:
    • Approach (25%)
    • Explanation (25%)
    • Correct solution (50%)
    Due date:
    Week 5
  • Assessment task 2
    Evaluation of Secure Computation Protocol Techniques
    In this assignment, you will apply, implement and evaluate techniques for secure computation for a given task.

    More details will be given in the assignment specification document.
    Criteria for assessment:
    • Correct application of secure computation techniques for protocol design (30%)
    • Implementation code (30%)
    • Evaluation and analysis of the protocol and its implementation (40%)
    Due date:
    Week 9
  • Assessment task 3
    Malware Analysis
    In this assignment, you will apply forensic techniques to analyse a piece of malware.

    More details will be given in the assignment specification document.
    Criteria for assessment:
    • Identification of malware operation (40%)
    • Forensic/Analysis methodology (40%)
    • Quality of the submitted report (20%)
    Due date:
    Week 12


  • Examination 1
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

Learning resources

Monash Library Unit Reading List (if applicable to the unit)

Feedback to you

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:

  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Graded assignments without comments
  • Interviews

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/student-academic-integrity-managing-plagiarism-collusion-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an electronic submission). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the learning system for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Other Information


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash’s Education Policies at: www.policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

Faculty resources and policies

Important student resources including Faculty policies are located at http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/

Graduate Attributes Policy

Student Charter

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

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