Computer systems security


In this module you’ll gain knowledge of operating systems and the associated security mechanisms which are an essential element in our infrastructure.

This module explores security mechanisms in modern computer systems. You’ll look at the core concepts – security policies, security models, subjects and objects, authorisation, and access rights – and gain an understanding of why operating systems and computer systems remain vulnerable to attack and how they can be strengthened.

We will also discuss security issues for computer hardware and software, user authentication, access control models and policies, how authentication and access control are implemented in commercial products, virtualisation, containers and cloud infrastructure. You’ll explore key aspects of this topic through case studies.

Topics covered:

  • Identification and authentication
  • Authorisation and access control
  • Operating system security and vulnerabilities
  • Virtualisation and container security
  • Computer system hardening
  • Case studies covering a range of issues such as vulnerabilities, malware, software security, computer hardware security and cloud security.

Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to: 

  • demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the role of security mechanisms for modern computer systems, including both hardware and software
  • consider the mechanisms that are generally used to implement security policies and be aware of key examples of mechanisms within particular hardware and operating systems
  • debate the use and operation of a range of access control mechanisms
  • consider the use and operation of a range of user authentication mechanisms
  • consider the role, use and security considerations of virtualisation and containers
  • select computer systems security including access control, authentication, policies, virtualisation and containers.


  • End of module examination (100%)