Systems & Software Security (S3)

The System & Software Security Unit at Bristol is assessed either through exam XOR coursework. The exam option is worth 10 credits and the coursework option 20 credits. As per university guidelines “one credit point represents approximately 10 notional hours of student input”.

Welcome Video!


Week 1-7

Join the unit discord

Tuesday 10am-12pm Thursday 1pm Friday 4pm
TAs Lab + Peer Lab Q&A Peer Lab

This is 4 hours of synchronous activities. In addition, you are expected each week to watch the lecture videos and engage in self-directed learning.

Groups: you are encouraged to form groups of 3 students for labs. If you cannot find lab partners get in touch with the head TA.

Week 8-11



The relevant people for this unit are:

Person Role Contact
Sanjay Rawat Unit Director
Thomas Pasquier Lecturer
Soo Yee Lim Head Teaching Assistant
Priyanka Badva Teaching Assistant
Manolis Samanis Teaching Assistant


You may need help at different stages of this unit. The most effective way to get the help you need is to:

  1. Check unit website/handsout/slides.
  2. Ask your question on discord.
  3. Contact one of the TAs: Soo Yee, Priyanka or Manolis.
  4. Contact Sanjay or Thomas.

Questions on the forum should be you preferred course of action as every students on the unit can benefit from the answers.

Final year individual projects

For those interested in going deeper on some topics related to this unit we have compiled a list of final year projects.

Course Structure

Week Lecture Lab Independent Work
1 Week 1 (Software Vulnerabilities & Attacks I) Lab 1 Exercises Sheet 1
2 Week 2 (OS Security) Lab 2 Exercises Sheet 2
3 Week 3 (Software Vulnerabilities & Attacks II) Lab 3 Exercises Sheet 3
4 Week 4 (Software Defense I) Lab 4 Exercises Sheet 4
5 Week 5 (Software Defense II) Lab 5 Exercises Sheet 5
6 Week 6 (Hardware Security) Lab 6 Exercises Sheet 6
7 Week 7 (Hardware Vulnerabilities) Lab 7 Exercises Sheet 7
8 N/A N/A Coursework
9 N/A N/A Coursework
10 N/A N/A Coursework
11 Revision Week Revision Week Revision Week

As per appropriate for a master-level unit, students are expected to work independently outside of lectures and labs. Hence, reading materials and exercises are provided alongside labs and lectures. Students (especially those on the coursework option) are very strongly encouraged to do this work diligently during the first 7 weeks of the term. Students will struggle to complete their coursework on time if they haven’t engaged with the unit material beforehand.

Reading Material

This is a fourth year, master-level unit, so a significant amount of independent work is expected from students. The objective of the unit is to familiarise students with important security topics, but also to familiarise students with academic research. Beside enhancing the understanding of the subject, this will provide an opportunity to have a taste of exciting research in the field of security. Those papers are available on the unit website and it is recommended that students read those papers. To make the most out of this exercise, please, check how to read and review technical papers.

Survey Results

We are actively monitoring how the unit is going through survey. You can see the survey results here.