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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.

Introduction to Cyber Security

Why join the course?

This online course will help you understand online security and protect your digital life, whether at home or work.

Guided by Cory Doctorow, you will learn how to recognise threats that could harm you online and take steps to reduce the chances that they happen to you.

The course will frame your online safety in the context of the wider world, introducing concepts like malware, viruses, trojans, network security, cryptography, identity theft and risk management.

The course is supported by the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme, is GCHQ Certified Training and IISP accredited.

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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

Who is this accredited by?

GCHQ Certified Training: This course is accredited by the National Cyber Security Centre, the UK authority on cyber security. The Certificate of Achievement meets the awareness level requirements of GCHQ Certified Training.

The Institute of Information Security Professionals: The Certificate of Achievement for this course demonstrates awareness of cyber security issues across 12 of the IISP skills groups.

When would you like to start?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • 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.

What do people say about this course?

I think this cause has been most successful in doing what any education should do - whet one's appetite for more learning. The course has given me just enough knowledge to be able to better understand more information that is readily available online. There was so much information put up by the other students - whom I would like to thank. I will now need to go back and review that knowledge in slow time. Most of all, my thanks to the OU tutors for putting together a very entertaining course on a challenging topic. I have benefited hugely from this course.

David Spicer

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 is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

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Join this course

Free

  • Access to this course for 10 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

Upgrade - $89

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you complete the course
  • 20% discount on the APMG International cyber security exam