CYBR171 (2021) - Cybersecurity Fundamentals


This course examines how cybersecurity affects individuals and society and aims to develop understanding that the concept of cybersecurity goes beyond technology to include people, information, and processes. It will examine key concepts as well as current issues and debates about how to respond to cybersecurity. Note that this course will involve using a range of security tools but does not involve programming. Students will also write short essays related to current debates around cybersecurity issues.

Course learning objectives

Students who pass this course will be able to:

  1. Describe basic concepts and terminology related to information security and cyber security including the adversarial mindset.
  2. Explain the relationship between cyber security and causes of cyber security failures with reference to the role of people, cultural norms, information and processes as well as technical factors.
  3. Examine and explain some of the legal and ethical issues related to current debates around cyber security, cyber crime and cyber warfare.
  4. Use basic tools and techniques for improving students own security and privacy practices.

Course content

This course covers concepts such as cryptography, authentication and authorisation, malware, network offensive and defensive technologies, social engineering, privacy and case studies.
The course is primarily offered in-person, but there will also be a remote option and there will be online alternatives for all the components of the course for students who cannot attend in-person.
Students taking this course remotely must have access to a computer with camera and microphone and a reliable high speed internet connection that will support real-time video plus audio connections and screen sharing.  Students must be able to use Zoom; other communication applications may also be used. A mobile phone connection only is not considered sufficient.   The comuputer must be adequate to support the programming required by the course: almost any modern windows, macintosh, or unix laptop or desktop computer will be sufficient, but an Android or IOS tablet will not.
If the assessment of the course includes tests, the tests may be run in-person on the Kelburn campus. There will be a remote option for students who cannot attend in-person and who have a strong justification (for example, being enrolled from overseas). The remote test option may use the ProctorU system for online supervision of the tests. ProctorU requires installation of monitoring software on your computer which also uses your camera and microphone, and monitors your test-taking in real-time. Students who will need to use the remote test option must contact the course coordinator in the first two weeks to get permission and make arrangements.

Withdrawal from Course

Withdrawal dates and process:


Harith Al-Sahaf (Coordinator)

Aaron Chen

Teaching Format

This course will be offered in-person and online.  For students in Wellington, there will be a combination of in-person components and web/internet based resources. It will also be possible to take the course entirely online for those who cannot attend on campus, with all the components provided in-person also made available online.
During the trimester there will be three lectures, and one laboratory per week.

Student feedback

Student feedback on University courses may be found at:

Dates (trimester, teaching & break dates)

  • Teaching: 22 February 2021 - 28 May 2021
  • Break: 05 April 2021 - 18 April 2021
  • Study period: 31 May 2021 - 03 June 2021
  • Exam period: 04 June 2021 - 19 June 2021

Class Times and Room Numbers

22 February 2021 - 04 April 2021

  • Monday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT103, Maclaurin, Kelburn
  • Wednesday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT103, Maclaurin, Kelburn
  • Friday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT103, Maclaurin, Kelburn
19 April 2021 - 30 May 2021

  • Monday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT103, Maclaurin, Kelburn
  • Wednesday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT103, Maclaurin, Kelburn
  • Friday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT103, Maclaurin, Kelburn

Other Classes

Students must sign up in myAllocator for a regular one-hour laboratory session each week. Students should plan to attend all weeks.


There are no required texts for this offering.

Mandatory Course Requirements

In addition to achieving an overall pass mark of at least 50%, students must:

  • Achieve at least 40% across the two tests.
  • Achieve at least 40% across the assignments and laboratory exercises.

If you believe that exceptional circumstances may prevent you from meeting the mandatory course requirements, contact the Course Coordinator for advice as soon as possible.


The course will be assessed through assignments, laboratory exercises, and two tests.

Assessment ItemDue Date or Test DateCLO(s)Percentage
Laboratory exercise 1Week 3CLO: 1,2,32.5%
Laboratory exercise 2Week 5CLO: 1,2,32.5%
Assignment 1Week 6CLO: 1,2,420%
Test 1 (1 hour)Week 7CLO: 1,2,325%
Laboratory exercise 3Week 10CLO: 1,2,32.5%
Assignment 2Week 11CLO: 1,3,420%
Laboratory exercise 4Week 12CLO: 1,2,32.5%
Test 2 (1 hour)During assessment periodCLO: 1,2,325%


Late submissions will receive a penalty of 25% for each day late calculated on a pro-rata basis. For example, one hour late means your penalty is 25% of 1/24th of a day multiplied by the assessment mark you would have received had there been no penalty.


Students receive two free "late days" for which no penalty will be applied and which are applied automatically by the ECS marking system. You do not need to apply for these. Late days are used in fractions, for example, using 0.1 of a late day leaves you with 1.9 late days. Late days are provided to cope with unexpected problems. Do not use late days to cover procrastination. Extensions to assignments beyond the late days should only be sought in cases of serious personal difficulty (e.g., significant illness) and are considered on their merits. We reserve the right to ask for documentation to support your case.

Submission & Return

Laboratory exercises and assignments are submitted through the ECS assessment system. Marks and comments will also be returned through the ECS assessment system.

Marking Criteria

All assessment is marked by tutors or lecturers following a marking scheme produced by the lecturers when the assessment is developed.

Required Equipment

You are able to use the ECS computers for all the laboratory exercises and assignments but may find it more convenient to use your own, in which case you will need to use a Linux virtual machine such as Ubuntu with VirtualBox.


The total workload for CYBR 171 is 150 hours. In order to maintain satisfactory progress in CYBR 171, you should plan to spend an average of 10 hours per week on this course. A plausible and approximate breakdown for these hours would be:

  • Lectures and laboratories: 4 hours per week
  • Consolidating lectured material, through readings, completion of exercises, worksheets: 3 hours per week
  • Assignments: 3 hours per week

Teaching Plan


Communication of Additional Information

All online material for this course can be accessed at

Offering CRN: 30039

Points: 15
Duration: 22 February 2021 - 20 June 2021
Starts: Trimester 1
Campus: Kelburn