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Symmetric Key Cryptography

Learn the fundamentals and practicalities of symmetric encryption, and how to break it.

Symmetric Key Cryptography
  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    10 hours

Explore the principles of symmetric key cryptography

Symmetric key cryptography requires that the sender and recipient of a secret message both know the ‘key’.

In this course we will examine this concept and modern implementations, as well as the trade-off between key size, security and performance.

What topics will you cover?

  • Symmetric key cryptography
  • DES, AES and other algorithms
  • Modes of operation
  • Key size, security and performance

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the theory and practice of symmetric cryptography and key exchange
  • Debate appropriate application of symmetric key cryptography under different circumstances
  • Identify the appropriate modes of operation, such as Electronic Code Book (ECB), Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) or Counter (CTR)
  • Demonstrate properties of various ciphers and modes, such as diffusion, error propagation

Who is the course for?

This course is for people who want to understand more about the way cryptography keeps our communications safe, either out of curiosity or to prepare for advanced study of the topic.

Please note that the individuals detailed in the “Who will you learn with?” section below, are current staff members and may be subject to change.

Who will you learn with?

Derrick is a Lecturer at Coventry University. He worked for 18 years in audit and IT consultancy, completed his PhD and joined Coventry in 2012. He teaches cyber security, cryptography and IT law.

Dr. Christo Panchev is a Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security at Coventry University with more than 20 years experience in industry and higher education, research and teaching in A.I. and Cyber Security.

James is a Principal Lecturer at Coventry University and has worked in academia for 18 years, teaching and researching in the areas of operating systems, cyber security and image analysis.

Who developed the course?

Coventry University

Coventry secured gold in the UK Government’s 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and is University of the Year for Student Experience in The Times & The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

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  • Location


Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control

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