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Unit information: Introduction to Mathematical Cybersecurity in 2018/19

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Unit name Introduction to Mathematical Cybersecurity
Unit code MATHM0028
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1A (weeks 1 - 6)
Unit director Dr. Patrick Rubin-Delanchy
Open unit status Not open

Probability 1, Statistics 1 and Statistics 2 (or equivalent)



School/department School of Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Science


Students will gain literacy in mathematical aspects of fundamental cyber security concepts, and gain the ability to convert these ideas into mathematical descriptions.

This unit will cover the following topics: how the internet works; computer security and encryption; vulnerabilities and cyber attacks; understanding the data; mathematical models such as graphs and point processes; probabilistic reasoning.

Intended learning outcomes

ILO1 To be able to qualitatively describe how computers communicate via the internet, and relate this to how it is quantitatively measured

ILO2 To understand how communications and computers are secured, and be able to describe how this is exploited by cyber attacks

ILO3 To have a high-level understanding of how mathematical models relate to cyber data

ILO4 To interpret applied cybersecurity reports from industry and academia and put them in a mathematical context

Teaching details

3 lectures per week for 6 weeks, to include 15 hours of new material and 3 hours of problem classes.

Assessment Details

Written exam (100%)

Reading and References

Dunlavy, Daniel M., Bruce Hendrickson, and Tamara G. Kolda. Mathematical challenges in cybersecurity, Sandia Report, 2009.

Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 2017.

FireEye Annual Cyber Threat Reports, 2017

Further Reading:

Alpcan, Tansu and Tamer Basar, Network Security: A Decision and Game Theoretic Approach, Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Adams, Niall and Nick Heard, Dynamic Networks and Cyber-security, World Scientific, 2016.

Adams, Niall and Nick Heard, Data analysis for network cyber-security, World Scientific, 2014.