Course Title: Smartcards and Biometrics for Cyber Security

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Smartcards and Biometrics for Cyber Security

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr Arathi Arakala

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2279

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 15.3.7

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment, by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Pre-requisites: INTE1120 Introduction to Information Security and INTE1122 Case Studies in Information Security
Co-requisites: INTE1125 Cryptography and Security

Course Description

This course extends the broad overview of information security presented in the prerequisite courses and introduces a rigorous and practical study of smartcards, biometrics and other distributed cryptosystems and their applications to information security. Authentication codes and hash functions, smartcards, electronic payment systems, pseudorandom number generation, identification, zero knowledge proofs, side channel attacks and other related issues are addressed. Biometrics including fingerprint biometrics, minutiae detection, biometric statistics, FAR and FRR rates and identification using biometrics are also considered.
This course includes a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) component in which your knowledge and skills will be applied and assessed in a real or simulated workplace context and where feedback from industry and/or community is integral to your experience. Your WIL activities involve simulations and role plays using industry technology (specifically biometric software, equipment and processes in the biometrics lab components) and a biometrics group assignment.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course you should be able to:

1. Critically review biometric identification systems and how they are used in identification of individuals.
2. Explain the features of fingerprint identification and discuss security and privacy concerns with biometrics.
3. Identify the standards used in smartcard cryptosystems and compare and contrast these standards for various applications.
4. Demonstrate a multilayered view of interactive cryptosystem protocols of which smartcards form an important subset.
5. Elaborate the concepts of interactive protocols and zero knowledge identification.
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. In-semester assessments may take the form of homework assignments, supervised class tests and/or computer-based project work.  Presentation of project work may also form part of the assessment. The assessments will reinforce the material covered in lectures and in your personal study. 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.
The final examination will test your comprehension of the subject material and your ability to apply this understanding to real world problems.

Face-to-face contact: 2 to 3 hours of lecture/discussion sessions per week based on the online lecture material uploaded to Blackboard in the days prior to the session.
There will be two (2) one hour self-directed laboratory sessions in in Weeks 1-2 and 4-5 which involve completion of exercises illustrating lecture content and assistance to achieve the CLOs.
In addition, you can expect to spend between 6 to 8 hours per week on independent study and research of the material assigned for the week.

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.

Blackboard: This course is supported online using Blackboard, 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 Blackboard 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: Class tests, biometrics
Weighting 30%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2 & 6

Assessment Task 2: Labs, biometrics
Weighting 10%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 & 2 & 6

Assessment Task 3: Group Assignment, biometrics
Weighting 10% 
This assessment supports CLOs 3-6

Assessment Task 4:  Assignment, smartcards
Weighting 15%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 & 2 & 6

Assessment Task 5: Final Examination, smartcards
Weighting 35% 
This assessment supports CLOs 3-5

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