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Applied cryptography

Module information>

Academic Direction
Royal Holloway, University of London
Modes of Study

This module introduces how cryptography provides digital security for everyday applications such as the internet, mobile phones and wireless networks.

In this module you’ll explore the role of cryptography in supporting digital security for everyday applications such as the internet, mobile phones, wireless networks and cryptocurrency. You’ll develop an understanding of the functionality and purpose of the main cryptographic tools that we use today. You’ll also learn how to make decisions about which cryptographic tools to use in specific settings. Finally, you’ll explore the wider infrastructure surrounding cryptography and how this impacts the overall security of systems that use cryptography.

Topics covered:

  • Symmetric and public-key encryption
  • Data integrity mechanisms and digital signatures
  • Entity authentication techniques
  • Cryptographic key management
  • Case studies of cryptographic applications
  • Political and social aspects of cryptography

Learning outcomes:

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

  • explain the precise role that cryptography plays in the security of any digital system
  • identify and compare a range of cryptographic mechanisms that can be used to provide core security services such as confidentiality, data integrity, data origin authentication, non-repudiation and entity authentication
  • assess the points of vulnerability relating to cryptography in any digital system deploying it
  • critically analyse the selection and use of specific cryptographic techniques in digital applications such as mobile call protection, secure web browsing and cryptocurrencies
  • develop an informed opinion about how to address challenges arising from societal use of cryptography
  • rationalise future developments concerning cryptography and their likely impact on security of digital systems.


  • End of module examination (100%)