Introduction to Cyber Security

I recently discovered this wonderful course online on cybersecurity. It's an 8 week course called:

Did I mention it's free?

Here is the run-down of the entire 8 week course and what I learned:


I learned about different kinds of security breaches taken from real life examples. I learned about the wider world of cybersecurity and how attacks can affect a variety of systems. I also learned about the importance of taking stock of your information assets so you can better secure them from security threats. I learned how to keep my knowledge of these threats up to date and start actively thinking about how these threats can affect my own information assets and online activities.


I learned about the importance of improving password security. I learned how weak passwords could threaten the security of digital information and my online identity. I learned about different ways of improving your password security, including techniques for coming up with strong passwords, using password managers and two-factor authentication. I learned about dictionary and brute force attacks and how in the majority of cases where someone's password was compromised it happened when an attacker cracked someone's password on a low-value, low-security site and that user used the same password for another higher-value site. The attacker then either guesses or knows the target's username on the higher-value site and then tries the cracked password on it.


I learned that the two biggest threats to consumers online are malware and phishing. I learned about the different types of malware such as viruses, worms, and trojans and the different methods they use to attack and infect their hosts. I learned about Adware and Spyware and their role in accessing personal information and user passwords. I learned about how to spot phishing attempts and what to do and not to do so you don't become a victim. I learned about what Botnets are and how they are effectively used to carry out attacks. I learned about the pros and cons of using anti-virus software and how using it alone will not protect you completely. I learned that one must take other proactive security approaches in addition to the anti-virus software to better protect yourself from attacks.


I learned about the basics of computer networking and communications. I learned about the TCP/IP protocols and how they communicate with one another. I learned about how data is transmitted across the networks, including wireless networks. I learned about the dangers of connecting to free Wi-Fi networks and how with an inexpensive kit and a bit of know-how you can create a bogus Wi-Fi network hotspot that looks like a familiar and trusted network and hack into people's digital devices and access different types of information. I learned about the importance of using Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), which uses a more secure key to encrypt the transmitted data.


I learned about the importance of cryptography and how it allows you to secure information so that it can be transmitted safely even when there is a risk it might be intercepted. I learned about different cryptographic techniques such as DES (Data Encryption Standard), AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), and Blowfish. I learned about digital signatures and the importance of using TLS/SSL (Transport Layer Security/Secure Socket Layer) and how to determine if a website is using TLS/SSL for added security and protection when transmitting important data.


I learned about personal firewalls and how to make modifications to its settings to provide the best possible protection. I learned about VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and how VPNs help provide a means of creating a private network across an untrusted network such as the internet. I learned that unlike other paths through the internet, information which passes through the VPN tunnel can be encrypted to protect it from inspection or modification. I learned about the two techniques of Intrusion Detection (Anomaly Detection and Misuse Detection). I also learned about Honeypots and how they are used to study attacks, either so the hacker's methods can be understood more fully and be used to identify new attacks in the hacking community and countermeasures prepared, or as part of an investigation that might lead to civil or criminal prosecutions. I also learned that Honeypots can be used by anti-spam organizations which use them to identify the location and identities of spam email senders.


I learned about the cybersecurity laws that are in place. I learned about detecting and preventing identity theft online. I learned about how data can be stolen especially through insider attacks and the risks of data loss. I learned about how to recover from an attack on my information security and what I can do to prevent a similar attack from happening again in the future. I learned about the importance of having a backup system in place and the different kinds of backup systems you can use to secure your data from attacks.


I learned about the importance of keeping your operating system, key applications, anti-virus and browser up to date. I learned about what you can do to improve your web browser's security. I learned about Risk Management and how to identify what cost-effective countermeasures you can take to better secure your information assets and data.

I had a really great time with this 8 week course and I learned a lot! I am looking forward to learning more. And because I completed this course with high honors you know what that means...It's time for the Woohoo Dance!

Stormtrooper Dance