Cyber Security and Digital Forensics MSc

2022-23

This course is eligible for Master's loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

17 September 2022

9 January 2023

Duration

1 year full-time

Places available (subject to change)

30

About the course

Cyber security aims to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks, and protect against the unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies. Whereas Digital forensics is focused on recovery and investigation of artefacts found on a digital device. Devices that store data include computers, laptops, smartphones, memory cards or external hard drives.

This Masters course has been designed with a high degree of relevance to industry’s needs, in order to meet the demand for experts with a wide range of security, investigative and general computing skills. Our course is practical and offers highly marketable Cyber Security, Computer Security and Digital Forensics skills. The course aims to enhance your technical effectiveness, thus increasing your immediate worth to industry. We aim to develop your ability to evaluate existing and emerging Cyber Forensics technologies, apply knowledge, understanding and analytical and investigative skills in support of the construction of their solutions and investigative approaches.

On completion of this Masters course you will be equipped with an understanding of the fundamental approaches to implementing Cyber Security solutions, as well as skills needed to acquire, preserve and analyse digital evidence.

Knowledge and experience of cyber security and digital forensics is essential throughout digital technology, where the ability to investigate, mitigate, and prevent cyber-attacks carries significant benefits for countries, businesses, and public citizens. This course provides you with the necessary knowledge and abilities to enable you to have a positive future impact in the security industry, with specialism ranging from advancements in security analysis using artificial intelligence to cryptographic technologies.

Reader in Cyber Security

Dr Simon Parkinson, Reader in Cyber Security

Course detail

Effective Research and Professional Practice

This module aims to provide you with skills that are key to helping you become a successful computing researcher or practitioner. You'll get the opportunity to study topics including the nature of research, the scientific method, research methods, literature review and referencing. The module aims to cover the structure of research papers and project reports, reviewing research papers, ethical issues (including plagiarism), defining projects, project management, writing project reports and making presentations.

Cyber-crime and Forensics Awareness

Upon successful completion of this module, you will have a systematic understanding of knowledge, and critical awareness of current cyber security challenges and how they are exploited through cybercrime. This includes gaining practical knowledge of how to perform and critical evaluate a crime scene from a digital perspective.  This Masters module also enables a conceptual understanding the enables the learner critically evaluate and engage in scholarship in the discipline, including proposing and testing both research and investigative hypotheses. The module covers many different aspects of cybercrime and how they fundamentally possible, often through exploiting weaknesses in computer and network security. The module presents an introduction to forensic analysis of digital systems, which is focussed on recovering deleted data from persistent data storage mechanisms (e.g. hard drives).

Data Mining

Data mining is a collection of tools, methods and statistical techniques for exploring and extracting meaningful information from large data sets. It is a rapidly growing field due to the increasing quantity of data gathered by organisations. There is a potential high value in discovering the patterns contained within such data collections. This module looks at different data mining techniques and gives students the chance to use appropriate data-mining tools in order to evaluate the quality of the discovered knowledge. Topics studied include looking at the value of data; approaches to preparing data for exploration; supervised and un-supervised approaches to data mining; exploring unstructured data; social impact of data mining. Current application areas and research topics in data mining will also be discussed and students will be expected to develop their knowledge such that they are able to contribute to such discussions and to increase their background knowledge and understanding of issues and developments associated with data mining.

Emerging Technologies for Cyber Physical Systems

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are collections of physical and software components that communicate and interact with users via networks. CPS extend the traditional capabilities of embedded systems by incorporating sensor networks and data services to enable previously disparate systems to become more integrated through ‘smart’ capabilities. Examples of CPS include the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities and digital manufacturing. This module will enable learners to explore contemporary issues in relation to emerging technologies that can be used to realise cyber-physical systems.

Digital Forensics

Digital Forensics (DF) is the process of identifying, acquiring, analysing and reporting on digital evidence (DE) used in a wide range of investigations. Digital Forensic Investigations (DFIs) have a variety of applications, being used in civil, administrative, and criminal proceedings in pursuit of DE. A typical DFI would involve the investigation of crimes such as hacking, digital espionage, counter- terrorism and possession of illegal imagery, etc. The aim of this module is to provide you with the knowledge and critical understanding of the key concepts in Digital Forensics. Through this module, you will be taught how to identify, preserve, extract and analyse digital evidence in a forensically-sound manner and report on your findings. Furthermore, this module will equip you with practical skills in applying specialised forensic tools, such as FTK Imager and Autopsy, and techniques, such as data carving and file system analysis, to a specific application scenario.

Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the study and development of intelligent behaviour exhibited in computational form. Its purpose is to demonstrate intelligent characteristics that provide enriched system functionality beyond that of traditional software systems. The benefits of AI spreads across many application areas, and one such area is that of cyber security. Artificial intelligence can be loosely categorised into symbolic and statistical approaches, which are often used depending on application requirements. In this module, you will study the different types of AI systems and focus on their different application use cases in cyber security. You will learn different techniques, such as Hidden Markov Models, Support Vector Machines to understand the fundamentals of AI technology. This module has a strong application focus, ensuring you gain knowledge and experience of how these techniques can be used in security in applications such as malware analysis, intrusion detection, and security policy analysis.

Introduction to Cryptography

The goal of cryptography is to make information secret so that only trusted individuals can access it. Cryptography has become critically important in the digital age. It is the cornerstone of secure communication and data storage, particularly in the area of e-commerce. This module aims to provide you with knowledge and critical understanding of the key concepts in cryptography. You will study the fundamental principles of cryptography. To aid your understanding, you will explore commonly used symmetric and asymmetric encryption and digital signature schemes in detail. Furthermore, you will be exposed to current state of the art developments in relation to cryptography. Finally, this module seeks to give you practical development skills in applying cryptographic techniques to a specific application scenario.

Distributed Ledger Technologies

Advancement in the capability and pervasive access to computing power through personal devices such as smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT) appliances, together with inexpensive communication networks and storage made available by cloud computing, is enabling new mechanisms for the transfer of value between peers. Distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are the foundation by which electronic transactions can be recorded and shared in a way that offers transparency without the need for a centralised authority, such as a bank in the finance industry. Learners will explore current state of the art developments in relation to DLT, whilst also enabling learners to develop strategies to evaluate and select technologies that are most appropriate for a chosen domain.

Individual Project

This module enables you to work independently on a project related to a self-selected problem. A key feature in this final stage of the course is that you will be encouraged to undertake an in-company project with an external Client. Where appropriate, however, the Project may be undertaken with an internal Client - research-active staff - on larger research and knowledge transfer projects. The Project is intended to be integrative, a culmination of knowledge, skills, competencies and experiences acquired in other modules, coupled with further development of these assets. In the case where an external client is involved, both the Client and Student will be required to sign a learning agreement that clearly outlines scope, responsibilities and ownership of the project and its products or other deliverables. The Project will be student-driven, with the clear onus on you to negotiate agreement, and communicate effectively, with all parties involved at each stage of the Project.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are normally:

  • An Honours degree (2:2 or above) in Computing or related subject or an equivalent professional qualification
  • Other qualifications and/or experience that demonstrate appropriate knowledge and skills at an Honours degree level
  • Substantial (3 years) relevant industry experience

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

Why Choose Huddersfield?


Watch this clip to find out five great reasons to choose the University of Huddersfield for postgraduate study.

Enhance your career


Previous graduates from courses in this subject area have gone on to work in a variety of roles such as senior information security specialist, service desk analyst, web developer, and head of information technology in both public and private sector companies based in the UK and overseas.**
You could also go on to further study and the University has many options available for postgraduate research which may interest you.

* Percentage of our postgraduate students go on to work and/or further study within fifteen months of graduating (HESA Graduate Outcomes 2017/18, UK domiciled graduates).

**Source: LinkedIn

96.4%*

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

A wide range of resources are also offered within the School of Computing and Engineering, which provides you with support in a variety of areas. These include:

Student Support Office: a one stop shop for students studying within the School. The team deal with every aspect of student life from enrolment, module queries, timetabling, exams, assessments, course-related committees and graduation. They are the first place to go with any query, and they can also signpost to other support networks.

Student Guidance Office: provides guidance about how students can develop their academic study skills and learning development. The team provide support with academic skills including research and project planning, referencing and paraphrasing, essay writing, critical thinking, understanding assessments and the presentation of academic work. Common learning development topics include, developing effective study habits, time management, how to manage deadlines, plan, structure and organise work and understanding the University regulations and systems.

Technical Support: technicians support our students across each department. Based in our labs with different specialisms and knowledge they are on hand to advise and guide, students can access our technician’s expertise during lectures and seminars as well as during self-study. A technical Helpdesk is also available to all students within the School of Computing and Engineering to help troubleshoot any computer issues or to borrow hardware and software.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

Changes to a course you have applied for

If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.

Changes to your course after you enrol as a student

We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:

Changes to option modules

Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.

Major changes

We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.

For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.

Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

Termination of course

In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.

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