Understanding cyber security is becoming increasingly important in our ever changing, permanently connected, digital lives. Our digital footprint is ever growing and the requirement to keep our digital identities safe and secure is becoming increasingly important as our reliance on online technologies grows.
Understanding how to leverage available technology to protect ourselves against the myriad of attacks on our privacy and digital identities is vital; and knowledge of cryptographic technologies is one of the foundation stones upon which we can build protection for our digital self.
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Beginner More Info
Entry-level short course, suitable for those with no or little prior knowledge. May provide foundation knowledge for higher, Masters-level short courses, or for CSU Masters subjects
Module 1: Introduction to Security & Cryptography
With concepts taken from ITI581 and ITC593, in this topic we discuss some of the fundamental concepts of information security and unpack some of the primitives of cryptography. This topic will provide the foundation for the topics in the next 3 weeks.
Some of the basic concepts for this topic will include;
- Useful cyber security and cryptography definitions
- The importance and application of the CIA Triad
- Defence in depth and how cryptography fits with this concept
- Primitives of cryptography (Random numbers, Asymmetric and Symmetric concepts, Hashing)
Module 2: Symmetric Encryption
With concepts mainly taken from ITC593, in this topic we will delve into the world of symmetric encryption. We will begin with some definitions, potential attack vectors and simple examples before examining example symmetric ciphers to help you understand how they work to protect your online data.
Cipher types examined will include:
- Substitution ciphers
- Transposition ciphers
We will also take a foundational look at the operations of two well-known symmetric encryption standards (DES & AES).
Module 3: Asymmetric Encryption
With concepts mainly taken from ITC593, in this topic we will examine the fundamental concepts of asymmetric ciphers, otherwise known as public-key encryption schemes. We will discuss how having two keys enhances security compared with symmetric encryption and some of the ways in which asymmetric encryption is commonly used.
We will use the RSA algorithm as our primary example and perform some hands-on encryption and decryption using it.
Module 4: Hashing Functions
In our final topic, taken primarily from ITC593, we explore the fundamental concepts of hashing algorithms. We will compare the similarities and differences between encryption and hashing techniques as well as how hashing techniques provide an additional layer of security to encryption through the provision of integrity. Lastly, we will explore how hashing techniques are commonly used and some of the potential attack vectors targeted at hashing implementations.
- Exam pass mark: 50%
- Time limit: 1 hour
- Attempts allowed: one
- Format: 40 multiple choice – may include standard multiple choice, WXYZ multiple choice, drag and drop, fill in the blank and scenario based questions.
Course Information Q&A
Who will present the webinars?
Matt Constable will be your facilitator for the Cryptography short course.
Matt is a lifelong learner with degree qualifications in Computing, Psychology and Exercise Science, and Masters’ qualifications in Computer Security and Exercise Physiology. He is also currently pursuing a PhD in Sports Biomechanics. A 30-year veteran of the IT industry, he has extensive experience across a variety of areas including network engineering, cyber security, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), contact centre and wireless technologies. He has been employed in various public and private sector enterprises as both a customer and an integrator/service provider. At various times, he has held professional level certifications with numerous vendors including Cisco, Juniper, Checkpoint, ISC2, Novell, Microsoft, SANS, F5 & Radware.
Matt has been an Adjunct Lecturer at Charles Sturt University since 2007, teaching subjects in the IT Masters programs.
What is the aim of this short course?
The aim of this short course is to provide you with a fundamental understanding of cryptography and how it can be usefully implemented as a part of a defence in depth security design. The short course is primarily based on two subjects within the CSU/IT Masters stable of subjects: ITI581 Cybersecurity Fundamentals & ITC593 Network Security & Cryptography. Both of these subjects are available as either core or elective subjects across several Masters’ level courses, including Masters’ of Cyber Security, Cloud Computing and Virtualisation, and Networking and Systems Administration.
What is included?
In addition to the weekly hour-long interactive webinars, you will be provided with additional suggested reading materials, video resources, quizzes, various practical exercises, and discussion forum topics to complete each week.
Is there a final exam?
Yes — the short course exam will be a timed, open-book exam that you will sit at your computer.
Do I get a completion certificate if I complete the course?
Yes — provided you receive a pass mark (50% or over) for the exam.
Will the course qualify me for university credit?
Yes — successful completion of three or more of our short courses will qualify you for one credit for an industry elective subject in our postgraduate courses. Click here for further details.
Are there any pre-requisites for the course?
While this course can be completed by itself it is useful to have some basic IT knowledge. If you don’t have a background in Cyber Security or basic IT knowledge, we recommend you complete our free short course Computer Network Fundamentals beforehand.
Will I need to purchase any study materials to complete the course?
No — all essential materials will be supplied.
Will the webinars be recorded?
Yes — all webinars are recorded and you will be able to access them, and all other free course materials, by registering for the course.