Understanding and knowledge of Information Environments

This Assignment assesses the following module Learning Outcomes (from Definitive Module Document):

  1. Develop a deep and systematic understanding and knowledge of Information Environments in terms of deterrence, detection, protection and reaction to access,
  2. Develop a deep and systematic understanding and knowledge of current theoretical and methodological approaches to offensive Cyber Operation concepts and philosophies,
  3. Critically reflect on the implementation and management of offensive Cyber Operations at all levels,
  4. Critically reflect on the implementation and management of defensive Cyber Operations at all levels
  5. Apply with flexibility and creativity originality in the application of the different types of cyber operations and their utilisation and deployment based on the scenario at hand,
  6. Design and undertake substantial investigations under the context of situational awareness,
  7. Demonstrate self-direction and creativity in designing and developing a cyber defence environment

Detailed Instructions

This is an individual assessment comprised of two tasks of equal weighting. Task 1 will assess your understanding of the theoretical aspects of computer security and cyber operations. Task 2 will assess your understanding of advanced principles in computer security from a systems perspective.

You are expected to demonstrate an insight into the implications of the problem introduced in each task by using clear and concise arguments. You will receive formative feedback as part of the module to demonstrate how to be concise in your written work. Please ensure, in completing these tasks you deploy the techniques you have been taught. If you produce work that is not concise and to the point, then marks may be reduced. The reports should be well written (and word-processed), showing good skills in creativity and design. Sentences should be of an appropriate length and the writing style should be brief but informative.

During the teaching weeks you will have the opportunity to submit draft copies of your portfolio activities. The module team will provide general feedback based on your draft copies and advice regarding your progress (if

it is deemed necessary). The deadline for the complete Portfolio is the 13.01.2022.

Task 1 – Paradox of warning

Task 1 is a research-based assignment, weighted at 50% of the overall portfolio mark. It should take you approximately 15 hours to complete. It is expected that the report for this task of the portfolio will be in the region of 1000 words. You are required to expand on the title and explain how different cyber operations can support a defensive cyber security strategy that is making use of the paradox of warning. The milestone for the DRAFT Task 1 is on week 16 by electronic submission via Canvas. The module team will then provide general formative feedback, allowing you the opportunity to reflect on your activities and improve your work where necessary. The final revised copy of Task 1 should be included in the final Portfolio. Although there are no allocated marks for references and bibliography you are expected to use appropriate peer reviewed sources for developing your arguments, and the Harvard referencing style as per the University regulations.

Task 1, Assessment CriteriaMark Available
Information environment characteristics10
Cyber Operation taxonomy10
Paradox of warning10
Critical discussion (your justified & supported opinion)20
Total50

It is expected you will research and discuss the notions in the above table and synthesise a defensive cyber security strategy build around the concept of the paradox of warning.

Task 2 – Situational awareness

Task 2 is a practical, problem-based assignment weighted at 50% of the overall portfolio mark. It should take you approximately 25 hours to complete. It is expected that the report for this task of the portfolio will be in the region of 2000 words. You are expected to conduct an analysis of the network packet capture that will be made available to you, using Wireshark. You are required to present your findings in a factual manner to convince decision makers of a large corporation on business strategies. The capture

will be made available to you in the labs and through Canvas. The analysis rig you will have to use for this activity will also be setup in the labs but you can use Wireshark from your own computer. There is no DRAFT deadline for this Task. The FINAL deadline for Task 2 and for the WHOLE portfolio is on the 13.01.2022 by electronic submission via Canvas.

The Wireshark capture file to be used for this task can be downloaded from here.

Task 2, Assessment CriteriaMark Available
Statistical analysis (network boundaries, active nodes, external sources, type of traffic and protocols)  15
Activity narrative and attack identification (of one attacker)20
Attack technical explanation (of the identified attack)10
Attack mitigation (of the identified attack)5
Total50

For the statistical analysis section, you are expected to use the automation provided by Wireshark under the ‘statistics’ drop-down menu. For the activity narrative section, you are expected to explain your thought process for identifying one attack, making references to specific packets in the provided PCAP file. For the technical explanation section, you are expected to provide a technical explanation of the identified attack, making references to good quality sources. For the attack mitigation section, you are expected to synthesise and present your opinion of what controls you would deploy for preventing similar attacks from happening again.

Submission Requirements

You are required to submit a PDF report using the submission link provided on Canvas. You are expected to demonstrate an insight into the implications of the problem introduced in each task by using clear and concise arguments. The report should be well written, showing good skills in creativity and design. Sentences should be of an appropriate length and the writing style should be brief but informative. Remember, cyber operators report on facts and avoid comments and generalisations!

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