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The Open University

Introduction to Cyber Security

The Open University via FutureLearn


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 Assured 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.

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.


  • Threat landscape
    • Online, the new frontline
    • Understanding current threats
    • Securing my digital information
  • Authentication
    • Who do they think you are?
    • Improving password security
    • It's not just what you know
  • Malware
    • Malware basics
    • How malware gets into your computer
    • Keeping malware at bay
  • Networking and communications
    • How does the internet work?
    • Network security challenges
    • Role of standards
  • Cryptography
    • Cryptography basics
    • Putting cryptography to use
    • Cryptography in the wild
  • Network security
    • Protecting your data on the network
    • Keeping your secrets on the network
    • Detecting attacks
  • When your defences fail
    • What’s the worst that could happen?
    • Cyber security and the law
    • Putting things right
  • Managing security risks
    • Analysing security risks
    • Managing the risks
    • Taking stock

Taught by

Arosha K. Bandara


4.3 rating, based on 22 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 510 ratings

Start your review of Introduction to Cyber Security

  • I've taken a few different entry level cybersecurity courses and really enjoyed this one. Entry level information security concepts were balanced with opportunities to dive more deeply into the technical aspects of work in cybersecurity. Weekly tests instead of one large test at the end of the course also helped balance the pace of the course. Encouraging real-world research on past infosec events made the course feel relevant and connected to industry. I would have really appreciated some intermediate courses from the same provider to follow this one.

    Note: I may be a bit biased as I work with FutureLearn, but have tried to be objective here
  • Llama
    This course is useful if you have little to no knowledge on how to protect yourself. Content and recommendations are familiar to anyone who browse a bit too much internet. Course forum does suggest it's useful for people who weren't brought up with computers, i.e. older generations.

    My actual rating: older generation - 4/5, everyone else - 1/5
  • Anonymous
    Take this course if you want to get a head start in the cyber sec world. Ideal for beginners and pundits alike. Topics include strong passwords, two-factor authentication, common attacks, encryption and networking security among others. In essence, security best practices nowadays. Highly recommended.
  • Anonymous
    I think the depth of content was appropriate for an introductory course. I found the course very easy and complete-able within 1-2 weeks.

    The material covered can actually be found on any website on basic cybersecurity. If you are short on time it might be faster to read such websites than sit through the lectures.
  • Giwa Ande
    The course will broaden my understanding of cyber security. Because crimes are in the increase everyday in the society.
  • Amy Christensen
  • Anonymous
    Thank you guys for doing this kind of things for our young generation for our community. I am from turkmenıstan student I study in turkey and I am trying to learn here cyber security for myself
  • Alexander Balgavy
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