Operating Systems and Network Security

This is the module web page for Operating Systems and Network Security (see module specification).

All teaching material written by myself (ie. Dr. Carl Pulley) is placed within this site's resource blog. By subscribing to this blog, you get to see when new material has been released or updated. My teaching materials may also be accessed by clicking on the relevant teaching week link under Teaching Materials on this page's sidebar.

Important Notes

This years teaching materials are a complete rewrite of the previously taught material. The course has been rewritten so that we cover network security in term 1 and operating systems in term 2 (this allows the coursework to be distributed earlier than in previous years).

In addition, the course is now exclusively taught using python. Note that:

  • it shall be up to individuals to learn python for themselves
  • at best, we'll only cover the language basics (look at the module's reading list for recommended texts on python).

Furthermore, the term 2 material (on operating systems) has been completely rewritten. This material follows and expands upon the text Gray Hat Python (see the module's reading list).

Software Requirements

VMWare virtual machines will be used on this course. In particular, we shall make use of two specific virtual machines:

  • term 1: we will use an Ubuntu virtual machine equipped with tools for performing and building network scanners
  • term 2: we will use a Windows virtual machine equipped with tools and frameworks for building and scripting debuggers and disassemblers.

Only these virtual machines will be supported on this module.


This module is assessed by an assignment and an exam (both equally weighted):

  • assignment: this will be an exercise in analyzing network data (Note: all assignment related questions should be raised using the appropriate Blackboard forum)
  • exam: this will last for 2 hours and consist of two sections:
    • section A: (worth a total of 39 marks) is a series of network-related multi-choice questions
    • section B: (each question will be worth 20 marks) consists of 5 operating system-related written questions (you are expected to answer 3 of these questions).

In addition, throughout this module you will be expected to complete a series of quizzes (some will be in-class and some are expected to be completed before the next practical). These quizzes are designed to measure and monitor your understanding of the taught material.

Whilst these quizzes will not contribute to your overall marks, anyone who fails to maintain a good overall average shall be treated as if they were missing lessons.

Currently, it is anticipated that the term 1 in-class quizzes will occur in weeks 4, 10 and 12. During week 8 of term 1, you will be expected to complete an out of class quiz (this quiz will close at midnight on the Thursday of week 9).