Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code COMP315
Coordinator Dr V Kurlin
Computer Science
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2017-18 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 15


  1. To introduce the environment in which e-commerce takes place, the main technologies for supporting e-commerce, and how these technologies fit together;
  2. To introduce security as a major issue in secure e-commerce, and to provide an overview of security issues;
  3. To introduce encryption as a means of ensuring security, and to describe how secure encryption can be delivered;
  4. To introduce issues relating to privacy; and
  5. To  introduce auction protocols and negotiation mechanisms as emerging e-commerce technologies

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this module, a student will:

  1. understand the main technologies behind e-commerce systems and how these technologies interact;
  2. understand the security issues which relate to e-commerce;
  3. understand how encryption can be provided and how it can be used to ensure secure commercial transactions;
  4. understand implementation aspects of e-commerce and cryptographic systems;
  5. have an appreciation of privacy issues; and
  6. understand auction protocols and interaction mechanisms.


1.      Introduction (1 week)

  • What is e-commerce? What are the issues in delivering goods and services over the internet? What form do solutions to these problems take?
  • Frameworks for e-commerce; business to business, business to consumer.

2.      Ecommerce basics (3 weeks)

  • The history and architecture of the internet, internet protocols, web servers, ISPs.
  • How e-commerce makes use of the internet, how e-commerce fits into other IT functions, client side and server side processes.
  • Current technologies and their uses. Scripting languages, CGI, ASP, Active X, plugins,XML
  • Futu re technologies. Shopbots and Pricebots.
  • Electronic marketing, information finding, placement on search engines.
  • Auction mechanisms and interaction protocols.

3.      Web security (2 weeks)

  • The problem of web security; where the weak spots are, denial of service.
  • Host security, Site security, Web server security
  • How firewalls work, how they help.  User safety, secure transactions.

4.      Cryptography (3 weeks)

  • Cryptography basics, history of ciphers, symmetric key algorithms, public key algorithms.
  • Cryptography and the web, existing cryptography systems, RSA, PGP, DES.
  • Messa ge digests, digital signatures, public key infrastructure, certification authorities, digital cash.
  • Secure Sockets Layer, SSLeay, using SSL to ensure secure transactions.
  • Java support for cryptography, Java Cryptography Architecture (JCS), JCE.

5.      Privacy issues (1 week)

  • Log files, cookies, anonymizers.
  • Wire tapping, key escrow and key recovery.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 30

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 120


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Written Exam  2.5 hours  100  At the next normal opportunity.  N/A  Assessment 1 Notes (applying to all assessments) Written examination  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.
Explanation of Reading List: