KV5045 - Human Factors in Cyber Security

What will I learn on this module?

This module is set in the context of human-centred security and highlights the symbiotic relationship between both parties for holistic security solutions. You will learn about the role of humans in security ecosystems, and how they can both be the weakest and strongest link across any threats or countermeasures. You will also learn how to tailor security processes and tools to different job roles, and move towards understanding security as a process rather than as a solution. Topics include basic definitions of terminology alongside practical and theoretical frameworks to help you identify key usability and security issues, and explore potential preventative measures.

Human Factors in Cyber Security will prepare you for later modules, including your final year project, where you will be required to plan and execute individual work as part of your research-rich learning. Employers are looking for graduates with knowledge of technical and social security to ensure that organisations are fully protected against modern cyber threats, and this module will complement your technical portfolio of knowledge.

How will I learn on this module?

Lectures will be used to introduce the different topics to be covered through case studies and theories. The practical sessions will teach you the hands-on skills to plan and deliver your project through completing one exercise per week (to then be submitted for assessment). You will be required to conduct work outside of the taught sessions, including some data collection from participants, data analysis, and some report writing.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by lecturers during the timetabled sessions when you will receive feedback on your work. The University’s eLearning Portal offers remote access to all lecture and seminar materials to reinforce your learning. In addition, the University Library offers support for all students through providing electronic resources

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO1: Identify, and design for, usability factors in security systems, ensuring that security solutions that are deployed are holistic and fit for purpose.
MLO2: Identify the most common cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities encountered by organisations and individuals and develop an understanding of technologies and methods to protect users against these threats and vulnerabilities.

Intellectual / Professional Skills & Abilities:
MLO3: Evaluate a wide range of online behaviours in terms of their security and ethical impacts and consider what might be the most ethical and professional response to such situations.
MLO4: Develop practical research skills for rigorously evaluating the impact of technology on users.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
MLO5: Reflect and make judgments on your own learning and professional development and contribute to helping your peers do the same.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment will take the form of a 500-1000 peer-review of an academic paper in the area of human-centred security. You will provide constructive feedback to the author by critiquing the motivation of the paper (MLO3) and the methods used for producing the results (MLO1). Critical discussion of the paper results will demonstrate your understanding of the security area (MLO2).

You will submit your practical exercises (8 completed during sessions) along with a 500-word reflection highlighting your learning throughout the module, with particular focus on your developed skills (MLO4, MLO5) and how your project could be improved in the future (MLO3).

Feedback will be given both in written form (electronically) and spoken – this could be in a class scenario or as pre-recorded audio feedback, as well as individual written feedback.





Module abstract

Information security is a complex problem that is made worse by the need to protect against adaptive human attackers. Technical security is now very good, resulting in attackers increasingly targeting users instead of the technical security systems. This is illustrated by the fact that the main cause for security breaches in the past few years has been human factors, thus illustrating the importance of holistic security measures. The module will be enriched by cutting edge research in the area guiding your practical skill development. This module will introduce you to the core concepts of human-centred security, ethics, and professionalism while helping you build and design better holistic security systems by considering both technical and human requirements.

Course info

UCAS Code G417

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Computer and Information Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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