Short courses


Security and Privacy of Networked Computer Systems

  • 150 hours
  • 8 weeks (2pm to 6pm each Friday) + optional assessment
  • 20 Jan 2023


This practical short course covers the design, development and evaluation of secure computer systems and networks.

In particular, it will focus on security and privacy challenges in a "big data" world. You'll learn about new and emerging technologies, such as blockchains and distributed ledger technologies, which hold significant promise for security and privacy.

You'll also learn how to implement and test secure networks in practical lab sessions.

This course is run by UCL's Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

Who this course is for

The department's courses/CPD modules are aimed at researchers, engineers, IT professionals and managers working in various industries.

They're particularly suited to graduates in electronic and electrical engineering, computer science and mathematics who want to further their knowledge on a particular topic, or work towards a Master's degree. 

You don't need to have any pre-requisite qualifications to take this course.

Course content

The topics covered will include:

  • Network security
    • Introduction and threats
    • (D)DoS attacks, botnets, malware, viruses
    • Data protection concepts: access control, encryption, compartmentalisation
    • Cryptography
    • Signatures and keys as a way to secure communication and encrypt content
    • Basic cryptographic tools for data security and privacy
      • Symmetric key cryptography
      • Asymmetric key cryptography
      • Public key cryptography
  • Mitigation methods and techniques
    • Network access control
    • Content-based access control
    • Firewalls
    • IPSec, DNSec, VPN
    • Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS)
    • HTTPS
    • Certificates
  • Privacy in online communications
    • Information exposure in online communications
    • Cookies
    • Device fingerprinting
    • IP spoofing
    • Internet censorship
    • Anonymity in the internet and privacy-enhancing technologies
    • Virtual private network (VPN) and Tor
  • Blockchain and distributed ledger technology
    • Introduction to distributed ledgers
    • Bitcoin as the first use-case of blockchain: avoiding double-spending
    • Consensus algorithms
    • Proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, proof-of-x
    • Byzantine fault tolerance
    • Ethereum virtual machine
    • Smart contracts

Dates, assessment and certificates

Classes will be held from 2pm to 6pm on Fridays, for 8 weeks.

Teaching will take place in person with some materials available online. Please note, dates and teaching arrangements may need to change in response to government guidance around Covid-19.

The assessment will be based on a mini project covering various elements of the course. This will involve setting-up and demonstrating a system, and writing a 5,000 words report.

If you complete the course but not the coursework, you'll receive a certificate of attendance.

If you complete and pass the coursework, you'll get a certificate stating this, which includes your pass level.

Benefits of UCL's Electronics and Electrical Engineering CPD courses

You can take this course as a standalone (one-off) course/module, or accumulate it towards a Master's degree (up to two standalone modules can be transferred towards the flexible Master's degree).

Benefits to the employee
The programme offers the opportunity for professional people working in various industries to develop their career, be able to respond to changes in their environment, and learn while they earn. It's also designed to give you the opportunity of working towards an MSc qualification from an academic institution whose quality is recognised world-wide.

Benefits to employers
Our flexible CPD courses enhance staff motivation and assists in the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff. It enables your company to keep ahead of the competition by tapping into world-leading research, and to profit from UCL's world class Telecommunications and Business expertise.

View the full range of related courses available.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, you should:

  • be familiar with issues related to network and computer security and privacy
  • understand the security and privacy threats of current and past computer and networked systems
  • understand how to identify security threats and how to apply mitigation mechanisms and technologies in real-world systems
  • understand the basic principles behind blockchain and distributed ledger technology
  • understand the basic principles of smart contracts and the opportunities that these offer in the area of online security and privacy

Course team

Dr Ioannis (Yiannis) Psaras - course leader

Dr Ioannis (Yiannis) Psaras - course leader

Yiannis is an EPSRC Fellow and Lecturer at the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL. His research interests include future internet architectures, mobile computing and networking, edge-computing and decentralised internet infrastructure. He's been running several collaborative research projects funded by the EU, the EPSRC as well as industrial partners. He's published in several major conferences and is serving in the technical programme committees of tens of high-profile conferences.

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:01