Students

COMP2300 – Applied Cryptography

2021 – Session 2, Special circumstances

Session 2 Learning and Teaching Update

The decision has been made to conduct study online for the remainder of Session 2 for all units WITHOUT mandatory on-campus learning activities. Exams for Session 2 will also be online where possible to do so.

This is due to the extension of the lockdown orders and to provide certainty around arrangements for the remainder of Session 2. We hope to return to campus beyond Session 2 as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Some classes/teaching activities cannot be moved online and must be taught on campus. You should already know if you are in one of these classes/teaching activities and your unit convenor will provide you with more information via iLearn. If you want to confirm, see the list of units with mandatory on-campus classes/teaching activities.

Visit the MQ COVID-19 information page for more detail.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Hassan Asghar
Leslie Bell
Credit points Credit points
10
Prerequisites Prerequisites
(COMP1010 or COMP125) and (DMTH137 or MATH1007 or DMTH237)
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
COMP6300
Unit description Unit description
This unit provides an introduction to modern applied cryptography. It deals with the concepts and techniques behind cryptographic primitives, such as hash functions, symmetric-key ciphers, public-key cryptography and digital signatures. It then explains the concept of cryptanalysis before addressing important cryptographic protocols. The unit concludes with a review of existing applications including blockchain and cryptocurrencies, electronic voting schemes, executable code signing, full disk encryption, etc.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Explain the concepts and principles on which modern cryptography relies upon.
  • ULO2: Employ adapted cryptographic tools and techniques to encrypt, decrypt and sign messages.
  • ULO3: Decipher simple encrypted messages using a range of cryptanalysis methods.
  • ULO4: Apply cryptographic technologies and protocols to increase data security and protect privacy.

General Assessment Information

Late Submission

No extensions will be granted without an approved application for Special Consideration. There will be a deduction of 10% of the total available marks made from the total awarded mark for each 24 hour period or part thereof that the submission is late. For example, 25 hours late in submission for an assignment worth 10 marks – 20% penalty or 2 marks deducted from the total.  No submission will be accepted after solutions have been posted.

Supplementary Exam

If you receive Special Consideration for the final exam, a supplementary exam will be scheduled after the normal exam period, following the release of marks. By making a special consideration application for the final exam you are declaring yourself available for a resit during the supplementary examination period and will not be eligible for a second special consideration approval based on pre-existing commitments. Please ensure you are familiar with the policy prior to submitting an application. Approved applicants will receive an individual notification one week prior to the exam with the exact date and time of their supplementary examination.  

Hurdle Assessment Task

The weekly tasks in this unit (submission of tutorial tasks) is a hurdle requirement. These are 10 in total, one for every week except for the Module Exam weeks. You are required to make at least 6 out of 10 submissions in order to pass the unit. 

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Weekly Tasks 10% Yes Every Week
Module Exam #1 20% No Week 5
Assignment 1 15% No Week 7
Module Exam #2 20% No Week 9
Assignment 2 15% No Week 12
Module Exam #3 20% No Week 13

Weekly Tasks

Assessment Type 1: Quiz/Test
Indicative Time on Task 2: 5 hours
Due: Every Week
Weighting: 10%
This is a hurdle assessment task (see assessment policy for more information on hurdle assessment tasks)

Each week, a set of exercises will be available online. Some require written submissions, while some are multiple choice. Your solutions should be submitted electronically via iLearn before the deadline specified in the text.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain the concepts and principles on which modern cryptography relies upon.
  • Employ adapted cryptographic tools and techniques to encrypt, decrypt and sign messages.
  • Decipher simple encrypted messages using a range of cryptanalysis methods.
  • Apply cryptographic technologies and protocols to increase data security and protect privacy.

Module Exam #1

Assessment Type 1: Examination
Indicative Time on Task 2: 10 hours
Due: Week 5
Weighting: 20%

A 50 minutes long written examination worth 20% that will be held in week 5 during practical class. This will test your understanding of material covered in weeks 1 to 4.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain the concepts and principles on which modern cryptography relies upon.
  • Employ adapted cryptographic tools and techniques to encrypt, decrypt and sign messages.
  • Decipher simple encrypted messages using a range of cryptanalysis methods.

Assignment 1

Assessment Type 1: Project
Indicative Time on Task 2: 7 hours
Due: Week 7
Weighting: 15%

This assignment deals with symmetric-key cryptography and is due on week 7. The assignment is to be submitted via iLearn.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain the concepts and principles on which modern cryptography relies upon.
  • Employ adapted cryptographic tools and techniques to encrypt, decrypt and sign messages.
  • Decipher simple encrypted messages using a range of cryptanalysis methods.

Module Exam #2

Assessment Type 1: Examination
Indicative Time on Task 2: 10 hours
Due: Week 9
Weighting: 20%

A 50 minutes long written examination worth 20% that will be held in week 9 during practical class. This will test your understanding of material covered in weeks 5 to 8.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain the concepts and principles on which modern cryptography relies upon.
  • Apply cryptographic technologies and protocols to increase data security and protect privacy.

Assignment 2

Assessment Type 1: Project
Indicative Time on Task 2: 8 hours
Due: Week 12
Weighting: 15%

This assignment deals with public-key cryptography and is due on week 12. The assignment is to be submitted via iLearn.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Apply cryptographic technologies and protocols to increase data security and protect privacy.

Module Exam #3

Assessment Type 1: Examination
Indicative Time on Task 2: 10 hours
Due: Week 13
Weighting: 20%

A 50 minutes long written examination worth 20% that will be held in week 13 during practical class. This will test your understanding of material covered in weeks 9 to 12.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain the concepts and principles on which modern cryptography relies upon.
  • Apply cryptographic technologies and protocols to increase data security and protect privacy.

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Learning Skills Unit for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

COMPUTING FACILITIES

Important! Please note that this is a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) unit. You will be expected to bring your own laptop computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) to the workshop, install and configure the required software, and incorporate secure practices into your daily work (and play!) routines.

CLASSES

Each week you should complete any assigned readings and review the lecture slides in order to prepare for the lecture. There are three hours of lectures and a one-hour workshop every week. There uses hands-on exercises to reinforce concepts introduced during the lectures; you should have chosen a practical on enrollment. You will find it helpful to read the workshop instructions before attending - that way, you can get to work quickly!

For details of days, times and rooms consult the timetables webpage.

Note that Workshops commence in week 1.

You should have selected a practical at enrollment.

Please note that you will be required to submit work every week. Failure to do so may result in you failing the unit or being excluded from the exam.

DISCUSSION BOARDS

This unit makes use of discussion boards hosted within iLearn . Please post questions there; they are monitored by the staff on the unit.

REQUIRED AND RECOMMENDED TEXTS AND/OR MATERIALS

Required readings for this unit:

  • N. Smart, Cryptography Made Simple, Springer. The PDF version of the book is available online at https://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319219356 and also through MQ Library.
  • Easttom, Chuck. Modern Cryptography: Applied Mathematics for Encryption and Information Security. 1 edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015. The book is available in online format through the Library; there will be allocated readings each week.

Recommended readings for this unit:

TECHNOLOGY USED AND REQUIRED

iLearn

iLearn is a Learning Management System that gives you access to lecture slides, lecture recordings, forums, assessment tasks, instructions for practicals, discussion forums and other resources.

Echo 360 (formerly known as iLecture)

Digital recordings of lectures are available. Read these instructions for details.

Technology Used

Java or C++ programming language and GP/PARI, GnuPG, VeraCrypt, Thunderbird, Gnu Privacy Guard, Enigmail, OpenSSH, PuTTY, Ophcrack.

Unit Schedule

Week Topic
1 Introduction to Cryptography and Elementary Number Theory
2 Symmetric Cryptography
3 Hashes, Digests and Passwords
4 Encrypting Files and Filesystems
5 Introduction to Public Key Cryptography and Advanced Number Theory
6 Digital Signatures and Authentication Protocols
7 Network and Telecommunications Security
8 ElGamal Cryptosystem and Elliptic Curve Cryptography
9 Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies I
10 Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies II
11 Quantum Computing and Post-Quantum Cryptography
12 Advanced Topics in Cryptography
13 Revision and Exam Preparation

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/admin/other-resources/student-conduct

Results

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Grading Standards

At the end of the semester, you will receive a grade that reflects your achievement in the unit

  • Fail (F): does not provide evidence of attainment of all learning outcomes. There is missing or partial or superficial or faulty understanding and application of the fundamental concepts in the field of study; and incomplete, confusing or lacking communication of ideas in ways that give little attention to the conventions of the discipline.
  • Pass (P): provides sufficient evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes. There is demonstration of understanding and application of fundamental concepts of the field of study; and communication of information and ideas adequately in terms of the conventions of the discipline. The learning attainment is considered satisfactory or adequate or competent or capable in relation to the specified outcomes.
  • Credit (Cr): provides evidence of learning that goes beyond replication of content knowledge or skills relevant to the learning outcomes. There is demonstration of substantial understanding of fundamental concepts in the field of study and the ability to apply these concepts in a variety of contexts; plus communication of ideas fluently and clearly in terms of the conventions of the discipline.
  • Distinction (D): provides evidence of integration and evaluation of critical ideas, principles and theories, distinctive insight and ability in applying relevant skills and concepts in relation to learning outcomes. There is demonstration of frequent originality in defining and analysing issues or problems and providing solutions; and the use of means of communication appropriate to the discipline and the audience.
  • High Distinction (HD): provides consistent evidence of deep and critical understanding in relation to the learning outcomes. There is substantial originality and insight in identifying, generating and communicating competing arguments, perspectives or problem solving approaches; critical evaluation of problems, their solutions and their implications; creativity in application.

Your final grade depends on your performance in each assessment task and on your ability to perform well enough on the hurdle assessment tasks.

For each task, you receive a mark that reflects your standard of performance. Then the different component marks are added up to determine an aggregated mark out of 100. In order to pass the unit, this aggregated mark needs to be at least 50.

You also need to be achieve a minimum standard of performance on the hurdle assessment tasks.

Hurdle Assessment Task

  • Submission of tutorial tasks in this unit is a hurdle requirement. You are required to make at least 6 out of 10 submissions in order to pass the unit. 

Not that assignment submission in this unit is not a hurdle requirement. However, if you do not make a reasonable attempt at the two assignments, you will be unlikely to pass the unit. 

Your final grade is then a direct reflection of the aggregated mark (provided that you satisfy the hurdle requirements) according to the following:

  • 85-100 for HD
  • 75-84 for D
  • 65-74 for CR
  • 50-64 for P

If you receive special consideration for the final exam, a supplementary exam will be scheduled in the interval between the regular exam period and the start of the next session.  By making a special consideration application for the final exam you are declaring yourself available for a resit during the supplementary examination period and will not be eligible for a second special consideration approval based on pre-existing commitments.  Please ensure you are familiar with the policy prior to submitting an application. You can check the supplementary exam information page on FSE101 in iLearn (bit.ly/FSESupp) for dates, and approved applicants will receive an individual notification one week prior to the exam with the exact date and time of their supplementary examination.

If you are given a second opportunity to sit the final examination as a result of failing to meet the minimum mark required, you will be offered that chance during the same supplementary examination period and will be notified of the exact day and time after the publication of final results for the unit.