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Cyber Security, Threat Intelligence and Forensics

MSc

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Computer Science

Start Dates(s): September; January

Duration:

One year full-time

Three years part-time

Fees:

Full-time - £7,380

Part-time - £1,230 per 30 credit module

In Brief:

  • You will develop  practical and real-world skills in all major areas of cyber security, cyber forensics, cyber warfare and cyber threat intelligence to fight against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
  • You will prepare yourself to obtain professional security certifications such as CISSP and CCFP
  • You will be among the most employable people on the planet!
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This course builds on your previous knowledge of computer science and Information Technology (IT), and aims to provide you with an in-depth specialism in the fields of cyber security, cyber threat intelligence and digital forensics. You will gain advanced and in-depth knowledge of penetration testing, cyber forensics, malware reverse engineering and software vulnerability and will exploit research using a very hands-on approach. You will gain practical and real-world skills in all major areas of cyber security including penetration testing, digital forensics, cyber warfare and threat intelligence. Moreover, you will learn how to apply your skills in analysis, testing and maintenance of software systems or enterprise networks from a cyber security perspective.  

You will use your penetration testing and vulnerability assessment skills in finding weaknesses in existing devices and applications and to advise developers or network administrators to secure their application or environment. Your cyber forensics skills can be used to identify, collect, preserve and analyse a wide range of digital evidences and present them in the court of law. You will use your knowledge of programming to analyse different malwares to determine how they work and how countermeasures can be developed. Only a small percentage of cyber security professionals are capable of analysing advanced persistent threats and are capable of understanding and managing malware campaigns. Finally, your cyber threat intelligence knowledge and skills will help you to strategically fight against organised cyber crimes, understand and analyse cyber warfare activities and propose appropriate defensive and offensive mechanisms to reduce or eliminate those risks.

You will have close and active contact with industry experts with the opportunity to attend regular industry guest lecture programs in cyber security while you operate within a well-formed professional and ethical framework.

https://vimeo.com/219537518

This course contains five modules as follows: 

Cyber Forensics and Malware Investigation

You will develop the skills, methodologies and processes to conduct in-depth computer and network investigation, including malware analysis and reversing techniques. This module provides early preparation for you to complete the Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (CCFP) exam.

Information Security in Practice 

You will study threats to information security, technologies used to detect and combat them, and techniques and tools used to manage and investigate incidents. This module prepares you to complete the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam. 

Penetration Testing and Exploit Development

You will study network and host-based penetration testing tools and techniques and methods for vulnerability detection, exploiting development and countermeasures. This course provides the information needed in order to obtain ethical hacking and exploit development certifications.

Cyber Threat Intelligence

You will study techniques for detecting, responding to and defeating organised cyber crimes and cyber war activities, analysing successful and unsuccessful advanced persistent threats and malware campaigns.

Project

You will work under the direction of an academic supervisor to research a suitable problem, and to develop and evaluate a solution that demonstrates originality in the application of your knowledge.

Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a 2.2 honours in Computer Science or other related computing discipline with knowledge of programming and networking. Other applicants with a strong cyber security background are welcome to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Suitable For

Suitable for graduates of a computing subject that includes programming and networking, and who love go down to a low level to discover how things work.

Fees 2017-18

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£7,380
Part-time£1,230 per 30 credit module
Full-time InternationalFull-time £13,500; Part-time £6,750

Teaching

  • Projects and assignments enable you to apply what you have learned to a realistic problem; to develop independent learning skills; to demonstrate an ability make decisions in uncertain situations; and to develop your ability to compare and contrast alternative technologies.
  • Group activities in class are used to develop your team working and professional skills (though all assessment is individual).
  • Supervised work in computer laboratories is used to put into practice principles you have covered in supporting lectures.
  • Research skills are integral to the program, and you will be required to critique examples of work and then carry out your own research-based investigations in our assignments.
  • The issue of professionalism and ethics is woven in throughout the programme, and issues must be identified and addressed as part of all assignments and projects.

Assessment

  • Examination (25%) assesses your immediate response to  small or medium unseen problems
  • Coursework (40%) assesses your considered and in-depth response to a larger problem
  • Project (35%) assesses your ability to work independently, to plan a significant activity and, in carrying out the plan, to demonstrate originality in the application of your knowledge.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr Ali Dehghantanha has worked as a security researcher, malware analyzer, penetration tester, security consultant and professional trainer. He researches the latest trends in “Real-Time Malware Detection and Analysis in Mobile and Pervasive Systems”, “0-Day Malware and Exploit Detection Techniques” and “Big-Data Forensics”. He is serving as an EU Marie-Curie research fellow (the Marie-Curie Fellowships are Europe's most competitive and prestigious awards, and are aimed at fostering interdisciplinary research and international collaborations) working on privacy respecting digital forensics techniques. 
Some research papers:
  • Dehghantanha, A 2013, 'Trends in Android Malware Detection', Journal of Digital Forensics, Security, and Law.
  • Steve Watson, Ali Dehghantanha, "Digital Forensics: The Missing Piece of the Internet of Things Promise", (Elsevier) Journal of Computer Fraud & Security 2016.
  • Teing Yee Yang, Ali Dehghantanha, Raymond Choo, Mauro Conti, Tooska Dargahi, "Forensic Investigation of Cooperative Storage Cloud Service: Symform as a Case Study", (Wiley) Journal of Forensics Sciences 2016.
  • Teing Yee Yang, Ali Dehghantanha, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, Zaiton Muda, "Windows Instant Messaging App Forensics: Facebook and Skype as Case Studies", PLOSONE, Vol.11 Issue 3, 2016.
  • Farid Daryabar; Ali Dehghantanha; Brett Eterovic-Soric,Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, "Forensic Investigation of OneDrive, Box, GoogleDrive and Dropbox Applications on Android and iOS Devices", Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2016.

View Ali's profile here

Employability

Career Prospects

Graduates from this course can work in a wide variety of technical security roles within business, banking, software, networking, government, consultancy, etc. This would include roles such as malware analyzer, penetration tester, information security manager, security consultant, forensics investigator or security programmer. There is a significant worldwide skills shortage in this area, particularly for graduates with the in-depth technical knowledge and skills that are developed by this course.

Links with Industry

This course has contacts with local industry such as software companies (such as Web Applications UK), infrastructure providers (such as UKFast) and security consultants (such as KPMG). These companies will provide you with a real-world perspective to help you appreciate the barriers that exist and the compromises that must be made to manage conflicting demands (known as the C-I-A triad).

Further Study

Your MSc project will need you to demonstrate “originality in the application of knowledge”. Given a suitable topic, this may be able to be developed into an area where you can undertake a higher research degree to demonstrate “an original contribution to knowledge” which is the target for a PhD. You will get a chance to learn about the research interests of the University’s research active staff in order to help you develop a suitable topic. This may be directly in a security field, or applications of other fields of computing such as artificial intelligence or big data in cyber security and cyber forensics.

Facilities

A specialised security laboratory is provided where computers can be wired independently of the University’s normal network infrastructure, allowing a safe environment where you can experiment with exploits, attacks and defences.  You will be required to address ethical issues and to accept a higher degree of network monitoring in order to show you take these ethical responsibilities very seriously.

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