Online course in Tech & Coding

Introduction to Cyber Security

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

  • Duration 8 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Certificate Available

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


This CESG Certified Training course has been developed by The Open University with support from the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme.

The course can be accessed free of charge.

Download video: standard or HD

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

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.

What do people say about this course?

A brilliant course for me, although at the beginning I regarded myself as security savvy I realise the importance of the background knowledge as to why measures are needed. The very mechanism of the web and internet, emails, packets so on and so forth have added to my knowledge in a very valuable way. My web use, email use is no longer business orientated as I am well into retirement but the uses, online purchases etc are now a factor. The threats change and the need to adapt to these threats as they materialise is vital.

Michael Beith

In my current role I am responsible for all the IT in the building; therefore cyber security is important to me. Whilst I felt I was reasonably up on the subject I was open to having a more formal briefing on the subject. Cory Doctorow is very well known in the industry, so his endorsement of the course was one of the factors that made me choose it. Having completed course, I felt it so worthwhile that I recommended that all IT staff in our group took it. As for the certificate I got, it goes on my office wall!

Neil Sedley
IT Systems Manager

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?

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

Endorsed by

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

$49.00