Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

COSC412 Advanced Cryptography and Security

Theory of cryptography including public key systems and its use in computer security. Consideration of cryptographic methods in the context of complexity theory.

The aim of this paper is to provide students with an understanding of the modern theoretical bases of cryptography and how it relates to computer security. The paper also explores a number of widely used computer security technologies.

Paper title Advanced Cryptography and Security
Paper code COSC412
Subject Computer Science
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,409.28
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

^ Top of page

COSC 312

There are no formal prerequisites for the 400-level papers, but prior knowledge is assumed.


Computer Science Adviser,

Teaching staff

Lecturers: Professor Michael Albert
Dr David Eyers

Paper Structure

The paper covers two main topics, cryptography and security.

Part I (Cryptography):

  • Classical cryptosystems
  • DES and AES
  • The RSA algorithm
  • Signatures and secret sharing
  • Error correcting codes
  • Quantum cryptography

Part II (Security):

  • Kerberos and symmetric cryptography in practice
  • TLS/SSL and asymmetric cryptography in practice
  • Decentralised authorisation
  • Homomorphic encryption and cloud computing


  • Two assignments worth 10% each
  • A report and presentation 20%
  • Final exam 60%
Teaching Arrangements
There is one 2-hour lecture per week.

Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Course outline

View the course outline for COSC 412

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Communication, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

This paper will enable students to:

  • Understand the basic principles of cryptography and cryptanalysis
  • Identify the theoretical basis for modern cryptosystems
  • Understand the cryptosystems that are currently in widespread use
  • Appreciate the importance of complexity in computational tasks
  • Understand the advances on the "cutting edge" of modern cryptography and complexity

^ Top of page


Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41