The electronic handling of information is one of the defining technologies of our age. Enormous volumes of information are routinely stored and transmitted worldwide and most aspects of our daily lives would come to a halt should the information infrastructure fail.
However, with the benefits deriving from the ability to automatically manage so much information, come major threats to businesses, governments and individuals. These threats include possible fraud through information manipulation, deliberate damage to stored and transmitted information, and blackmail associated with the threat of damage.
The field of Information Security, namely the study of countermeasures to these real and serious threats, has grown up very rapidly in recent years. The subject embraces a range of technologies such as cryptography, computer security, and fraud detection, and also includes the study of how security can best be managed.
This advanced course is taught by the Information Security Group (ISG), and security experts from industry. It is designed to produce a comprehensive education in the technical, legal and commercial aspects of Information Security.
- This pioneering course was the first of its kind in the world. Our Information Security Group (ISG) was recognised in 1998 when the College was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the ISG’s work. The citation read “This pioneering Group provides a unique national resource for the training of information security specialists and the development of highly secure communications and computer systems. It offers world-leading independent expertise in a field of crucial importance where trust and integrity are paramount.”
- As this course was the first of its kind, we consulted with more than 20 companies and Government departments to ascertain what they felt such a degree course should contain. Many of these organisations have maintained close links with the department and, in a typical year, you would benefit from lectures or seminars from up to 50 guest speakers.
- Having an offering that is up to date and relevant to potential employers is a key theme to all our activities. Therefore, in addition to our comprehensive syllabus and accompanying seminars, you will be offered some cutting-edge optional units.
- You will have access to virtualization software from the ISG Lab in which you can experiment with network security settings and concepts introduced in these units. As well as the general purpose lab, there is also a Penetration Testing Laboratory and the Smart Card Centre where specialist equipment and tools may be accessed for those who may be undertaking a practical project in these areas.
- The ISG also recognises the standing of the CISSP qualification in the workplace. As a result we have established an arrangement with (ISC)2 whereby you will attend an intensive two-day CISSP revision course at Royal Holloway and then sit the associated exam on campus.
- Our cryptographers have close links with Bletchley Park and many students visit that historic site during their studies.
Department research and industry highlights
The ISG is an interdisciplinary research group conducting internationally-leading research in all areas of information security:
- device and system security (including security of portable devices, smart cards, smart tokens and embedded systems)
- protection of evolving networks (including wireless, mobile, ad hoc and ubiquitous networks)
- trusted computing
- security infrastructure provision (including protection of critical national infrastructure and grid security)
- socio-technical studies in information security (including both organisational information security research and sociological research in the wider "Information Society" context)
- application security (including identity management and software security)
- fundamental security technologies (including cryptography, cryptographic protocols, and authentication technologies).
Our breadth of coverage, coupled with our size, distinguished educational and academic track record, and long-standing and deep engagement with industry, makes the ISG a unique research group in the UK.
On completion of the course graduates will have a solid foundation in: - the essential concepts, methods and approaches of information security
- the main security issues in the development of digital business activities
- the technical, legal and commercial issues that need to be addressed when assessing the information security needs of an organisation
- the organisational and personal issues that need to be addressed when implementing information security within an organisation
- the potential sources of vulnerability within an information system and the possible implications of failing to counter these with adequate security controls
- the appropriate countermeasures to information security threats and the likely implications of their adoption
- the relevance and impact of new developments in information security threats, technologies and controls.
Assessment is carried out by written examinations (in the four core and two elective units) and by completing the MSc Project.
Employability & career opportunities
Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different information security-related areas, including banking, telecommunications, large security consultancies, public utilities, and the retail sector. This taught Masters course also equips postgraduate students with a solid foundation for continued PhD studies.