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.

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 was 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: The Certificate of Achievement demonstrates you have completed a course that meets the awareness level requirements of GCHQ Certified Training.

APMG International: This course is certified by APMG on behalf of the NCSC (part of GCHQ). The NCSC protects critical services from cyber attacks, manages major incidents and improves the security of the UK Internet.

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

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.
  • Identify main malware types; awareness of different malware propagation methods; and skills for preventing malware infections.
  • 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?

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.

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  • Tests to validate your learning
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  • 20% discount on the APMG International cyber security exam