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Free Online Courses

 

Free Online Courses or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are increasingly becoming popular and widely available. These courses are offered by universities and handled and taught by faculty. They are freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world who wants to learn stuff in cyber security.

In this page, you will be given an overview about MOOCs that will explain the basics. Then you will be presented with over 15 different online courses you can take for free. If you are already familiar with the basics, feel free to skip to the list of courses available.

MOOCc Overview

 

MOOCs Basics

MOOCs are offered online through universities. The courses are available throughout the year, however some universities have strict scheduled starting and end dates. Look for a course below and then see the schedule.

What Format Is Used?

MOOCs are usually offered through video lectures. These lectures are pre-recorded but the instructors do interact with the students on forums. They can also initiate live chats or interact with them during virtual office hours.

How Much Time Is Required?

Cyber Security MOOCs can take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks to complete. Typically, you may need to set aside at least 3-6 hours a week for each course.

How Does Assessment Work?

There isn’t actually a fixed procedure for this. It can be totally random depending on the course, university and instructor. But you can still expect hands-on projects, interactive class discussions, peer to peer reviews or even a final exam. Many of these courses already implement quizzes and programing labs to test comprehension.

Note: Do not take these courses lightly because they require a lot of effort and work like just any other full blown course. There are only about 10% students who actually end up finishing a course.

Which Course Should You Pick?

Cyber security MOOCs come with many different shapes and sizes targeting newbies and experts alike.

For example, for amateurs, one can look at the following:

For deeper understanding and advanced topics, courses include:

Note: You do not require to be enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program to start MOOCs. But certain courses will require a set of skills in order for you to complete assignments of the course. In our list of MOOCs, you will find a section called ‘prerequisites’ with each course that will help you understand which skills are necessary for that course.

Does Free Really Means Free?

In short, yes.

MOOCs were designed to give you a teaser of the subject. You will go through the course only to familiarize with the subject so you get interested in taking a fee-based program with the university.

Although MOOCs are teasers of the actual thing, they are still highly useful and sometimes difficult to complete. Also you will not get any college credit for finishing any of these courses because their self-directed and free. Also if you wish to get the certificate of completion of the course, you will be required to pay $50 in fee.

Now let’s move on to the list of popular MOOCs available.

Most Popular Cybersecurity MOOCs

Cryptography

By University of Maryland

What are the topics covered?

This is the foundation course in the 2 part Cryptography course offered by University of Maryland’s Cybersecurity Specialization. Practical applications of modern cryptography is it’s core. You will be exploring ideas about hardness assumptions, defining security and possibilities of providing security of complicated constructions that are based on low primitives.

You’ll be taught:

  • Private key encryption
  • Public key encryption
  • principles of modern cryptography
  • message authentication
  • digital signatures
  • Hash functions
  • Public Key Revolution

By completing this course, you will be equipped with a firm understanding of cryptographic primitives that are widely used today with a knowledge of how combining these will help develop modern protocols that ensure secure communication.

How Is Assessment Done?

Not specified

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

The course targets students that are majoring in either mathematics or computer science. So you’ll need experience in basic probability and covering discrete mathematics. You’ll likely be expected to go through a course covering these first. If you have an understanding of algorithms, it will greatly help you. But you’ll still need experience in mathematics and C-Like programming language.

Cryptography I

By Stanford University

What are the topics covered?

This is the first part course out of the two cryptography courses offered by Stanford University.

You’ll be taught:

  • How to Analyze the inner workings of cryptography primitives and discover ways to correctly use them.
  • How to apply your knowledge of security of cryptographic constructions in real world applications.

The course is divided into two halves. The first deals with the examination of deployed protocols and analysis of mistakes in existing systems. The second half will cover discussions on public key techniques that enable two or more parties to prevent eavesdroppers by using a shared secret key. You’ll also cover basic key exchange, public key encryption and relevant number theory.

You can preview the entire course here.

How Is Assessment Done?

You’ll be given quizzes and homework. You’ll also have to go through programming labs.

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

No prerequisites are required but if you have knowledge in programming, it’ll greatly help you. During the course, the instructor will give you many starter online resources that cover codes and general info. Having knowledge of discrete probability will also be a plus point.

Cryptography II

By Stanford University

What are the topics covered?

This is the sequel to Cryptography I by Stanford University. In this course, you will dig deeper into cryptographic tools and learn workings of public key systems. The course is tougher than the first part because it requires more time commitment and the topics are far more challenging.

You’ll be taught:

  • Zero Knowledge protocols and protocols for user authentication
  • Privacy applications that support private database lookup and anonymous credentials.
  • Applications of constructions for digital signatures

How Is Assessment Done?

You’ll be handed quizzes and homework with programming labs and a final exam that must be taken to complete the course.

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

Requires Cryptography I because this course will expand on what you learned in the first part. You will also need to have a basic knowledge of discrete probability theory.

Designing And Executing Information Security Strategies

By University of Washington

What are the topics covered?

This is an excellent course that is designed for someone who wants to integrate and apply their cyber security knowledge.

You’ll be given access to real world problems that are pretty tough. These problems are created by the practitioner community. You will be expected to design and execute information assurance strategies to solve the problems.

The Syllabus will cover:

  • Construction of security policies
  • Selection and application of controls
  • Understanding and application of business constraints
  • Understanding and applications of regulatory requirements
  • Identification and remediation of new threats
  • Communication of risk to non-information assurance professionals.
  • Communication of Information Assurance Principles and concepts
  • Analysis of performance of incident response
  • Peer reviewed analysis of each case
  • Reading and peer discussion of current events in information assurance
  • Reading and class explanation of good and bad examples taken from public sources and news.

After successfully completing the course, you should be able to assess the nature of security risks, compare them and apply several models for the security risk assessment then facilitate that risk assessment process and incorporate it to an IT security plan.

How Is Assessment Done?

You’ll be asked to explain good and bad examples taken from public sources and news articles. You will also be required to read and discuss information assurance events and then do a peer reviewed case analyses.

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

You need to have a background in cyber security if you want to enroll on this course. This includes understanding of potential threats, system vulnerabilities, privacy and security policies, risk management frameworks and organizational governance.

Information Security And Risk Management In Context

By University of Washington

What are the topics covered?

The course is designed for professionals who are in information security. You will explore cutting edge tools and techniques for defending and securing information systems.

You’ll be taught:

  • Information security strategies and individual privacy
  • Legal security implications
  • Medical health record confidentiality and integrity
  • Cutting-edge technologies

You will be exposed to experience of leading experts in the industry who will share their knowledge in mobile workforce safety, electronic oversight evidence, security metrics and ways to cope with e-discovery and e-crime. Over the period of the course, you’ll also discuss critical issues like:

  • Individual privacy
  • Information security strategies
  • Medical health record integrity and confidentiality
  • legal security implications

How Is Assessment Done?

Not specified

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

Not Specified

Introduction to Cyber Security

By National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College

  • Instructor: Gary M. Jackson
  • Total Duration: 8 weeks
  • Commitment: Not specified
  • Exam Fee: $40
  • Register Now! 

What are the topics covered?

You will be introduced to issues surrounding cyber security law and standards as well as a broader view of cyber security in general.

You’ll be taught:

  • Cyber attacks that are commonly practiced
  • Ways to identify, detect and defend against cybersecurity threats
  • Concepts that revolved around personal, network, physical, wireless and web security
  • The basic principles to prepare you for advanced study

How Is Assessment Done?

Not specified

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

This course is intended for professionals. You’ll need to have a professional background in cyber security.

Securing Digital Democracy

By University of Michigan

What are the topics covered?

This is a course designed for newcomers focusing on internet and electronic voting. It will detail everything about various voting technologies and where and why are they being implemented and what risks do they face.

You’ll be taught:

  • The possibility of hackers attacking and stealing an election
  • The effectiveness of checks, balances and safeguards.
  • Viruses in the voting system
  • Study of new researches on risks and vulnerabilities
  • What new security technologies can be introduced in the future

How Is Assessment Done?

You will go through optional readings, weekly quizzes, questions that will be discussed followed by a final essay submission at the end.

What Are The Materials Required?

If you have a college level computer science background, you will be provided optional material for reading.

What Are The Prerequisites? 

Suitable for anyone without prior experience in Cybersecurity and related fields.

Usable Security

By University of Maryland

What are the topics covered?

The course is a first part course in Cybersecurity Specialization by University of Maryland. It mostly discusses the role of humans play in the entire security process which includes daily tasks, cognitive abilities and workflows.

You’ll be taught:

  • Designing and building systems with human centric focus
  • Details about authentication mechanisms, mobile security, browsing security, social media security and privacy
  • Principles of human computer interactions and usability
  • Security measures that rely on human performance and oversee their goals within a system

How Is Assessment Done?

Through homework, quizzes followed by a final exam at the end.

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

No programming experience is required but the course is intended for junior level undergraduates.

Wiretaps To Big Data: Privacy And Surveillance In The Age Of Interconnection

By Cornell University

What are the topics covered?

The course explores privacy in a world where Wi-Fi, cellular and internet surveillance is dominant. You will examine key issues that surround the use of information networks.

You’ll be taught:

  • Evolution of user rights and privacy concerns
  • Foundation functions of networking technologies
  • Security Laws/decisions and contemporary surveillance
  • The effects of implicating surveillance on corporations, markets, democratic institutions and individuals.
  • The different types of cryptography available to use for secured wireless and wired networks.

Being a beginner, you will gain a broader understanding on the issues. You will be provided with detailed resources on entities that are currently engaged in the development of governmental and corporate policies.

How Is Assessment Done?

Not specified

What Are The Materials Required?

You’ll be given a list of resources that will supplement your course with text books. One of the textbooks offered will be optional reading.

What Are The Prerequisites? 

No prerequisites are required for this course.

Software Security

By University of Maryland

What are the topics covered?

This is the part 2 of Cybersecurity Specialization course offered by University of Maryland. You will go through the foundations of software security that include skills and tools that are required to build secure software. This is intended for people who are already versed in cybersecurity.

You’ll be taught:

  • State of the art techniques to verify and test whether a software is secure or not. You will be doing program analysis, penetration testing and using high end tools.
  • How to put up defenses that mitigate or prevent the attacks
  • Learn about the important attacks and vulnerabilities of software. You’ll go through stuff like side channel attacks, SQL injection, Phishing, session hijacking and more
  • Ways that can be implemented to strengthen the security of a software system while it is going through staged development cycle.

When you have finished the course, you’ll be able to strengthen the security of a software system and learn how to build security on the go.

How Is Assessment Done?

You’ll have to deal with 3 hands on project with quizzes.

What Are The Materials Required?

Free reading that will supplement your course will be available over the internet for free.

What Are The Prerequisites? 

Intended for 3rd year undergraduates who are in pursuing a degree in computer science. Solid knowledge of C programing language is required as well as programming proficiency in a minimum of one language. You are also expected to have knowledge in WWW and basic network concepts and familiarity with Linux/Unix machine level program execution and assembly language.

SANS Cyber Aces Online

By The SANS Institute

  • Instructor: Not Specified
  • Total Duration: No limit
  • Commitment: Up to candidate
  • Register Now! 

What are the topics covered?

This is an introductory class developed by The SANS institute to lay the groundworks for popular core concepts in cyber security. The coursework offered on the course is updated to match current trends.

It is divided into 3 modules, you will learn:

  1. Operating Systems  – The first half of the course will focus mostly on Linux that will include the use of important commands and concepts and CentOS LiveCD in VMware Player. The second half will take you to latest Windows OS covering important topics that revolved around expert computer users.
  2. Networking – This half will cover all the fundamentals that are required for understanding computer attacks and their defenses from the perspective of a network.  You will be focusing particularly on Networking layer along with other various protocols used in each layer.
  3. Systems Administration – Tools will be given to you in order to perform common administrative functions in scripting environments that are popularly used. You’ll examine PERL and PHP in context of an Apache web server. From there on, you will then explore the use of GNU BASH and Microsoft Powershell use through the command line allowing you to perform and finish everyday administrative duties.

How Is Assessment Done?

Every module on the course comes with a complete tutorial. There are no mandatory quizzes but you are expected to test your understanding using optional multiple choice quizzes. If you manage to top these quizzes, you will be invited to attend the National Cybersecurity Career Fair (NCCF) which is the biggest virtual career fair in the cybersecurity field.

What Are The Materials Required?

You are required to install VMware Player for Linux or Windows hosts or for Macs, VMware Fusion. You’ll also be required to download 2 virtual machines that will run through VMware. One of these machines will be Linux based, the other Windows based. You should have at least 30-35 GB of free hard disk space and a decent specification set list for your computer.

What Are The Prerequisites? 

There are no prerequisites. The course is intended for people who want to strengthen their cyber security knowledge to match current trends.

Introduction To Cyber Security (Open University)

By The Open University

What are the topics covered?

This 8 week course is intended for people who are very new to cybersecurity but want to explore the industry. In this course, you’ll learn the very basics of cybersecurity and how to provide guidance on protecting digital information.

You’ll be taught:

  • How to recognize common cyber security threats that include virus, trojans and malware
  • How to orientate your safety in the online world
  • Go through the concepts of network security, identity theft, cryptography and risk management

The course was developed with help from UK Government’s National Cyber Security Program.

How Is Assessment Done?

Not specified

What Are The Materials Required?

No materials required

What Are The Prerequisites? 

No Prerequisites

Hardware Security

By University of Maryland

What are the topics covered?

This is part 4 of the Cybersecurity Specialization course offered by University of Maryland. It explores cyber security from the hardware perspective.

You’ll be taught:

  • The various weaknesses in the hardware design flow
  • Security vulnerabilities and their sources
  • Practical methods and basic principles of design for trust and security
  • Developing new security primitives for constructing secure systems
  • Various physical attacks
  • Countermeasures to Physical attacks
  • Basics of digital logic design
  • Hardware transformation going through enabler to enforcer in security systems

When you are done with the course, you will have a good knowledge and understanding of vulnerabilities in current digital system design flow and the source of their physical attacks. You will have also developed skills and obtained tools to build trusted and secure hardware.

How Is Assessment Done?

Not specified

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

Mostly intended for junior level undergraduate students who are exploring computer science, electrical engineering or computer engineering. You are expected to have basic skills in digital logic design, programming and computer organization.

Cyber Security And Its Ten Domains

By Kennesaw State University

What are the topics covered?

The course is designed to lay down the foundations of cyber security to students, community and working professionals. You will go through the basics of cyber security that will focus on business continuity, information security governance and risk management.

You’ll be taught:

  • Introduction to cybersecurity
  • Introduction to security, software development security and access control
  • Business continuity, cryptography and disaster recovery planning
  • Information on security governance, regulations, compliance, investigations and risk management.
  • Operations security and environmental and physical security
  • Security Architecture and design and telecommunications and network security

How Is Assessment Done?

Quizzes, videos and peer reviews

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

None, this course is intended for beginners.

Building An Information Risk Management Toolkit

By University of Washington

What are the topics covered?

You’ll be taught:

What are the topics covered?

This MOOC is great for anyone who wants an introduction to Risk Management.

You’ll be taught:

  • How to develop and maintain Risk Assessments (RA) and Risk Management Plans (RM)
  • How to create a control framework to mitigate risks
  • Disaster recovery planning and Business continuity
  • Legal and Regulatory compliance issues

After completing this course, you may also be interested in a more thorough fee based version of the course offered by University of Washington

How Is Assessment Done?

Not specified

What Are The Materials Required?

Not Specified

What Are The Prerequisites? 

Not Specified

 

Jake Ciber

Jack of all trades... master of none... ABL... Always Be Learning! I love what I do and I love helping people.