Cyber Forensics and Malware Investigation
In a nutshell
Data breaches are on the rise but you can become part of the solution. With this specialised postgraduate degree, you can enhance your existing computer science and IT knowledge and gain in-depth skills ready to build a career in cyber security, cyber threat intelligence and digital forensics.
Criminals are using more sophisticated techniques to infiltrate IT systems, organisations need talented people to reduce their risk and help to keep systems secure. In response, there is huge demand for talented computing and IT graduates and professionals who can help organisations of all shapes and sizes mitigate their data risks.
This industry-aligned course provides specialist cyber security knowledge, and a hands-on ethos, so you gain the skills and knowledge ready to fight cyber-crime. You'll learn about both attach (red team) and defence (blue team). You'll consider established attack surfaces (networking, social engineering) and modern issues (IoT, Cloud). You will also examine trade-offs between security and availability, and between privacy and audit.
Salford is a leading regional study centre for computer science and cyber security. We are part of the recently announced GM Cyber Foundry, part of the region's blueprint to be a global leader in cyber and digital research and intelligence, a plan which will also see GCHQ open operations in Manchester.
- Develop practical and real-world skills in all major areas of cyber security
- Have contact with industry experts and active cyber security researchers
- Build cyber threat intelligence to learn how to fight against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).
- Gain advanced knowledge of penetration testing, cyber forensics, malware reverse engineering and risk management
This is for you if...
You're a computing graduate keen to build a career in cyber security management
You have a curious mind and want to learn how criminals infiltrate data networks
You want use your programming and networking skills to learn how to combat cyber attacks
All about the course
This course is available in flexible study formats, including full and part-time pathways. It comprises four 30 credit taught modules, followed by a 60 credit dissertation project. For full-time students, taught modules take place in trimesters one and two, followed by the project module in trimester three. For part-time students, taught modules are spread over trimesters one and two of two years, followed by the project module in year three.
You will develop the skills, methodologies and processes to conduct in-depth computer and network investigation, including malware analysis and reversing techniques. This module provides early preparation for you to complete the Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (CCFP) exam.
Information Security in Practice
You will study threats to information security, technologies used to detect and combat them, and techniques and tools used to manage and investigate incidents. This module prepares you to complete the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam.
Penetration Testing and Exploit Development
You will study network and host-based penetration testing tools and techniques and methods for vulnerability detection, exploiting development and countermeasures. This course provides the information needed in order to obtain ethical hacking and exploit development certifications.
Cyber Threat Intelligence
You will study techniques for detecting, responding to and defeating organised cyber crimes and cyber war activities, analysing successful and unsuccessful advanced persistent threats and malware campaigns.
You will work under the direction of an academic supervisor to research a suitable problem, and to develop and evaluate a solution that demonstrates originality in the application of your knowledge.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
The majority of teaching and learning is delivered through tutorial and seminar groups. All students benefit from the supply of a range of high-quality teaching materials and software. Interaction is face-to-face wherever practical, but we also use web-based learning support packages (databases of materials, discussion boards etc.) and there is a strong focus on guided self-learning.
Group activities develop your team working and professional skills (though all assessment is individual). Supervised work in computer laboratories puts into practice principles you have covered in supporting lectures.
Projects and assignments used in the course assessment strive to apply your learning to a realistic problem. We aim to develop your independent learning skills and your ability to make decisions in uncertain situations. Professionalism and ethics are woven throughout the programme, and the identification of these issues is an integral part of all assignments and projects.
- Practical work (33%) where you will use some offensive and defensive tools and write a report critiquing your strategy.
- Coursework (33%) where you will receive a research-oriented task with a longer deadline to assess your considered and in-depth response to a larger problem.
- Project (33%) where you will work independently, to plan a significant activity and, in carrying out the plan, demonstrate originality in the application of your knowledge. You will have flexibility in choosing the area of your project to match the areas of the course, or your future career plans.
The School of Computing, Science and Engineering
The School of Computing, Science and Engineering (CSE) seeks to improve lives through proactive collaboration with industry and society. Our stimulating, industry-accredited courses and research programmes explore engineering, physics, acoustics, computing, mathematics and robotics. Through our award-winning lecturers, world-class facilities and research-led teaching, CSE produces highly employable graduates ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow.
As a leading regional study centre for computer science and cyber security, we offer a range of sophisticated computing laboratories and facilities.
Our MediaCityUK campus is home to our Cisco-related laboratory classes. We also have a second networking laboratory at our PeelPark campus and a dedicated project laboratory, both of which provide a variety of facilities and equipment for students on computer science and computer networking degrees.
At both locations, our computer suites are equipped with Macs and PCs configured with the specialist software required for exploring database systems, networking and network simulation, internet security and computer forensics.
What about after uni?
There is a significant worldwide skills shortage in this area, particularly for graduates with the in-depth cyber security technical knowledge. Course graduates will be ready to find work in a wide variety of technical security roles within business, banking, software, networking, government, consultancy, etc. Typical roles could include malware analyser, penetration tester, information security manager, security consultant or security programmer.
Some of our graduates progress to postgraduate and doctoral research in our Salford Innovation and Research Centre (SIRC). The Centre aims to build on our world-class research and provide industries with guidance and expertise in the advancement of technology for business success and economic growth.
Research at the Centre is supported by EPSRC, TSB, DoH, MoD, Royal Society, European Commission funding, as well as direct investment from industry. Our Informatics Research hub builds on the history, success, and achievements at the University of Salford over the last thirty years. Evolving around data and information, the centre covers all phases and processes from data pre-processing to engineering, security and visualisation.
Many students go on to further research in knowledge discovery and semantic web, software engineering and applications, big data, data mining and analytics, cyber security, information visualisation, and virtual environments
Salford leads an industrial liaison committee to gain advice on our computing programmes and course content. Companies involved in this initiative rely on IT and data for their operations. This approach ensures we understand industry needs from multiple perspectives and helps us to nurture graduates with strong employability and transferable skill sets.
This course has contacts with local industry such as software companies (such as Web Applications UK), infrastructure providers (such as UKFast) and security consultants (such as KPMG). These companies will provide you with a real-world perspective to help you appreciate the barriers that exist and the compromises that must be made to manage conflicting demands (known as the C-I-A triad).
What you need to know
English Language Requirements
International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (with no element below 5.5) is proof of this.
International Students - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
International students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studies. To comply with Home Office regulations, you must obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK. Please refer to your offer conditions.
The minimum entry requirement is a 2.2 honours in computer science, or a related subject with coverage of programming and IPv4 networking, preferably with experience of command line usage.
Other applicants with a strong cyber security background are welcome to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
We also welcome applications from industry professionals with relevant security experience who might not have formal qualifications.
English Language requirements
International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English through an IELTS score of 6.0 (and no element below 5.5.).
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2019||£7,776per year|
|Full-time international||2019||£14,310per year|
|Part-time||2019||UK/EU: £1,296 per 30 credits. International: £2,385 per 30 credits|
Having your own laptop (16GB of RAM and an Ethernet port) is not essential, but it will give you more flexibility in where and how you engage with the software you will need to use during your studies (software is provided as part of the course).
You should consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.