Course Outline

SEC304 Cryptography, Blockchain and Information Security

Course Coordinator:Dennis Desmond ( School:School of Science, Technology and Engineering

2022Semester 2

USC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


Cyber security specialist will use a complex array of tools, methods and applications to investigate and protect information in computer systems. You will be introduced to cryptography techniques that allow different parties to securely transmit information. You will explore blockchain and its growing uses, including cryptocurrencies. You will learn the differences between authentication and security protocols and how private keys are exchanged to establish secure communications

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Asynchronous learning material 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus workshop 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – Asynchronous learning material 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Online workshop 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

  • History and Cryptography Concepts
  • Crypto and data authentication protocols
  • Encryption as a Weapon
  • Legal, Policy and Ethics Framework of Encryption
  • Commercial Encryption Tools
  • Blockchain
  • The Onion Network and TOR
  • Cryptocurrencies and Cryptocurrency Support
  • SSL/TLS and HTTPS, Certificates
  • Steganography and Secret Writing
  • Virtual Private Networks and Secure Peer to Peer Networks
  • Communications Security Principles

What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Demonstrate knowledge of cryptography fundamentals for security and authentication. Knowledgeable
2 Compare and contrast data security and privacy of cryptographic protocols outlining their strengths and vulnerabilities. Creative and critical thinker
3 Demonstrate the qualities of professionalism, leadership and digital collaboration. Engaged
4 Communicate research and findings to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Engaged

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.




Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

On-going formative feedback will be provided in workshops throughout the course.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Report Individual 40%
1500 words
Week 5 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Case Study Group 30%
1000 words
Week 10 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Oral and Written Piece Individual 30%
5 minute oral presentation with slides
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:The Blockchain game changer
To understand blockchain technology and its role in cybercrime methodologies.
Product: Report
Given an indictment, statement of fact and series of cryptocurrency wallet addresses and scenario, you will prepare an analytical report of attempted money laundering activities perpetrated during the Bitfinix hack and movement of cryptocurrencies. The paper will articulate the tradecraft and methods used by the perpetrators.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstration of understanding of the blockchain technology
Explanation of applications
Evaluation of ‘trustworthiness’
Professional communication
All - Assessment Task 2:Digital group cryptology challenge
This is a cryptology challenge task where you will work with a team to decipher and work through a complex case study.
The goal of this task is to understand the differences between cryptographic and data authent
Product: Case Study
You will prepare a written report as a group identifying the features of cryptographic and authentication protocols. You will
compare and contrast their features and discuss their roles in data privacy and authentication. The report will have an
annex that outlines the work of the team members, specific elements/roles performed by the members and an indication of
the division of work.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Identification of the elements of cryptographic and authentication protocols
Comparison of the features of cryptographic and authentication protocols.
Discussion - different roles both play in data security and authentication
Professional communication
Demonstrate effective team work and professionalism within the team
All - Assessment Task 3:Persuasive presentation
The goal of this presentation to is demonstrate your knowledge of key arguments for and against Government decryption powers
and to argue a clear position backed by evidence. This will demonstrate your ability to apply key concepts to real world
scenarios, including the practical challenges in applying decryption key laws within an encryption context.
Product: Oral and Written Piece
Pre-recorded video with referenced slides l to address the position as to whether you are in favour of recently introduced
Australian (Commonwealth) decryption laws. Your essay must cover key concepts, stakeholder positions, the mechanics
of the law and its "practical" workability, and consider a clear position of support or not for these legislative changes and
evidence to support your position.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Argues a clear, consistent case to answer a position for or against decryption laws
1 2
Correctly applies relevant encryption theories and frameworks
Multiple perspectives are presented and arguments made on different sides and
relevant position(s)
1 2
Professional Communication - includinScholarly and authoritative referencing in APA style,, critical thinking, analysis and synthesis of argument, appropriate sentence and paragraph structures.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required David Kahn 1996 The Codebreakers n/a Simon and Schuster

Specific requirements

This course requires access to computers and specialist software which is provided at USC campuses for student use. If you elect to do this course online, you
may either; attend a campus at which it is available, discuss alternative solutions with your course coordinator that would enable you to
demonstrate the learning outcomes, or if you prefer you may acquire this software (if necessary at your own expense). Some software providers
may offer discounted or free academic licensing.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. 
To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


USC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

Visit the USC website:

Student Charter

USC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

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