Contact FutureLearn for Support Introduction to Cyber Security - Free online course Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Free online course

Introduction to Cyber Security

Our lives depend on online services. Gain essential cyber security knowledge and skills, to help protect your digital life.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, starting from when you join
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Introduction to Cyber Security

Why join the course?

We shop online. We work online. We play online. We live online. As our lives increasingly depend on digital services, the need to protect our information from being maliciously disrupted or misused is really important.

This free online course will help you to understand online security and start to protect your digital life, whether at home or work. You will learn how to recognise the threats that could harm you online and the steps you can take to reduce the chances that they will happen to you.

With cyber security often in the news today, the course will also frame your online safety in the context of the wider world, introducing you to different types of malware, including viruses and trojans, as well as concepts such as network security, cryptography, identity theft and risk management.

Your guide for the course is Cory Doctorow, a visiting professor at The Open University.

“If you want an introduction to the subject that provides an overview or to improve your own personal information security, it is an excellent course - enjoyable, informative, engaging and authoritative.”
- Tony Morbin, Editor-in-Chief, SC Magazine

Double accredited course

This GCHQ Certified Training course is also accredited by the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP).

It has been developed by The Open University with support from the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme and can be accessed free of charge.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Threat landscape: terminology, cyber security threats, keeping up to date
  • Authentication: access control, passwords, two-factor authentication
  • Malware: types of malware, attack vectors, preventing infection
  • Networking and communications: fundamentals, security challenges, standards
  • Cryptography: symmetric and asymmetric cryptography, applications
  • Network security: firewalls, virtual private networks, intrusion detection / prevention
  • When your defences fail: cyber security laws, recovering from attacks
  • Managing security risks: risk analysis and management

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Explain basic cyber security terminology; have skills for keeping up to date on cyber security issues; and be able to identify information assets.
  • Describe basic authentication mechanisms; have skills to improve their password security; and be aware of alternative authentication methods.
  • Identify main malware types; awareness of different malware propagation methods; and skills for preventing malware infections.
  • Explain basic networking concepts; be aware of network security challenges; and have knowledge of key networking standards.
  • Describe cryptography terminology; be able to use cryptography for email; be aware of applications of cryptography.
  • Demonstrate understanding of firewalls, virtual private networks and network intrusion detection and prevention technologies.
  • Describe legal and regulatory issues relating to cyber security; and understand how to recover from security failures.
  • Apply basic risk analysis and management techniques.

Who is the course for?

The course does not assume any prior knowledge of computer security and can be enjoyed by anyone interested in improving the security of their digital information.

Endorsed by

Who will you learn with?

Arosha K. Bandara

Arosha is a software engineer with research interests in engineering adaptive systems that can improve information security. He also teaches network security at the OU. Twitter: @arosha & @OUCyberSec

Who developed the course?

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £59.00

Statement of Participation £34.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.