Course Title: Information Theory for Secure Communications

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Information Theory for Secure Communications

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2015


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2021

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Serdar Boztas

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2285

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

INTE1120 Introduction to Information Security
INTE1122 Case Studies in Information Security

Course Description

This is course extends the broad overview of information security presented in INTE1120 Introduction to Information Security and INTE1122 Case Studies in Information Security. It will provide you with a detailed understanding of information theoretic techniques which underpin the design of information security systems. Topics covered in this course include confusion, diffusion, entropy, unicity distance, guessing entropy, perfect secrecy, correlation attacks and probabilistic approximations of nonlinear functions. You are also introduced to the fundamental concepts in information theory including conditional entropies and Shannon and Renyi entropies and their use in characterizing the security of secrecy systems.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course will enable you to

1. Identify the appropriate probability distribution and entropy measure corresponding to different cryptographic security scenarios.
2. Apply guessing entropy to a study of key guessing attacks and work factor.
3. Recognise Discrete Fourier Transform characterizations of diffusion in block ciphers.
4. Explain the relationship between Hadamard Transforms and best affine approximation attacks.
5. Discuss the importance of fast correlation attacks on stream ciphers and the trade-off between nonlinearity and correlation immunity.
6. Argue the place of ethics in the Information Security area.

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for MC159 Master of Applied Science (Information Security and Assurance)

International Orientation and Strategic Thinking

• Graduates will have a strategic and practical overview of the issues in information security and assurance.

Critical Analysis and Problem Solving

• Evaluate information security risks across diverse service settings including the Internet and WWW based commerce systems, high bandwidth digital communications and funds transfer services,
• Undertake professional careers or postgraduate research in information security or other IT related fields, acquiring the required information needed to identify real world solutions to real world information security problems.


• Graduates will have the ability to communicate both technical and non-technical material in a range of forms (written, electronic, graphic, oral) and to tailor the style and means of communication to different audiences.

Ethical Values

• Graduates will exhibit an ability to appreciate the ethical considerations that inform judgments and decision making in academic and professional settings.

Overview of Learning Activities

A variety of planned student learning experiences will accommodate the learning outcomes envisaged for this course. This includes individual and group activities and laboratory-based learning experiences.
A presentation format will provide an overview of the specified study area and direct you to foundational, analytical, and evidence-based readings about cryptography and its place in Information Security. Facilitated open discussions will draw on your capacity to solve problems, to think critically and analytically and reflect on your own relevant work and life experiences.
Individual and group activities, such as in-semester assessments, will provide you with on-going feedback on your progress. An end-of-semester examination will complement this aspect of your learning.

Your capacity to solve problems and to think critically and analytically will also be addressed through problems presented in lectures and facilitated seminars. In-semester assessments will emphasize the role of ethics in the academic arena. You will be expected to understand the plagiarism policy enforced at RMIT.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be expected to expand on the subject matter provided as lecture notes. This will take the form of accessing various external and internal resources, such as the library and the Internet. References to books, including text and reference books will be provided in class.

The Internet will be the most important source for academic, technical and white papers and you will be required to use this as a learning resource on a regular basis. In addition your classmates and tutor/lecturer are also important learning resources as will be demonstrated in facilitated discussions.

Canvas: This course is supported online using Canvas, which gives access to important announcements, a discussion forum, staff contact details, the teaching schedule, assessment timelines. You are advised to read your student EMS e-mail daily for important announcements. You should also visit the course Canvas site at least once a day where you will find important announcements regarding the course and all key documents.

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks:

Assessment Task 1:  Discipline based practical individual assessment 
Weighting 45%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3 & 6

Assessment Task 2: Discipline based practical individual assignment 
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 3, 5 & 6

Assessment Task 3: Discipline based practical individual assessment (Weeks 14-16)
Weighting 15% 
This assessment supports CLOs 1-5

Practice questions with answers and marking criteria are provided for all assessments. Answers to Assessments 1-3 are discussed in class. Marked tests are returned to students as feedback.