• The Open University

Introduction to Cyber Security

Learn the essentials of cyber security and build your skills to better protect your digital information from security threats.

323,861 enrolled on this course

A cyber security threat – a man looks at his laptop, while people snoop over his shoulder.
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  • Course access expires 3 Oct 2022
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Explore the world of cyber security and develop the skills to stay safe

Modern life depends on online services, so having a better understanding of cyber security threats is vital.

On this eight-week course from The Open University and guided by Cory Doctorow, you’ll learn how to recognise online security threats that could harm you and explore the steps you can take to minimise your risk.

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

Explore how to improve your network security and protect your data as it moves around the internet

Internet routers are designed to move data to its destination, which could take your data through several routers across the world. This creates vulnerabilities that allow that data to be copied.

On this course, you’ll discover tips and strategies to protect your data on a network, including firewalls and VPNs. You’ll also explore intrusion detection systems (IDS) and honeypots to detect attacks.

Assess the current threat landscape and how to protect against it

Our lives increasingly depend on digital services, which makes the internet an attractive target for criminals.

You’ll start this course by looking at the array of current threats to our information assets. You’ll assess the different vulnerable points at risk of a security breach, how threats exploit those vulnerabilities, and some countermeasures that you can use to guard against these threats.

Discover the uses of cryptography and network encryption

Cryptography is a specialised area of mathematics concerned with protecting information so that it can be transmitted and received securely.

This course will guide you through this technique for protecting information, from explaining encryption keys to exploring real-world uses of cryptography.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds CORY DOCTOROW: Cyber security isn’t just the preserve of large companies. As more and more of us conduct our lives online, using everything from social networks to payment platforms, understanding how to protect your online identity has never been more important. This course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to enable you to secure your digital information from accidental loss and malicious attack. What I’m actually in is the business of information warfare. We will find a way in, and sometimes it can take just a matter of minutes. We start by looking at the types of threats that exist and ways to prevent these from affecting your digital information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds DIGITAL VOICE: Are you about to click on a link you’re not sure about? Well, I hope you’ve taken care because if not, I could quite easily drop a Trojan horse, or a drive-by download, or some other sinister malware into your laptop and turn your computer into a zombie.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds CORY DOCTOROW: The course then delves deeper into the underlying technologies and techniques that are used to solve cyber security challenges. So, what are the threats that affect digital information? How can we improve the security of our information? And how can we stay ahead of these attackers?

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?

APMG International
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 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.

NCSC
NCSC:

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

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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.
  • 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?

This course is designed for anyone interested in improving their online security, whether at home or at work. You do not need any prior knowledge to benefit from this course as it has been created with beginners in mind.

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."

"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!"

Who will you learn with?

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

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

    1969
  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Endorsers and supporters

supported by

HM Government
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