Learn the ins and outs of cyber security online

Electronic surveillance, identity theft, hacking – these are just a few of the cyber security threats at work today. Given our reliance on computers, mobile phones and the Internet, these problems are pertinent to almost anyone, including a large number of professionals working within the information technology field. Knowing how to combat cyber security risk is a valuable skill, both personally and professionally. Online cyber security classes are a convenient way to gain additional knowledge and add professional credentials to your resume. Read on to learn more about what online cyber security courses are available.

Side-by-Side: Types of Online Cyber Security Classes

Some students choose to pursue cyber security courses that offer certificates of completion that they can add to their resumes, or simply for the wealth of information that can be gained. Still others consider cyber security their ultimate career goal, so will seek out for-credit certificate or degree programs. Here’s more information on various types of cyber security programs and who might take them.

Certificate

What is this type of class?
Certificate classes provide students with something tangible to verify their knowledge. Some no-cost informational classes offer certificates for a fee.

Who takes this type of course?
Certificate classes are useful for professional development and marketing when a degrees are unnecessary, non-existent or not readily available.

For-Credit

What is this type of class?
For-credit classes are generally, but not always offered through traditional college degree programs. Credit-based cyber security classes can advance or supplement one’s learning.

Who takes this type of course?
Students enrolled in formal degree-granting programs in related majors.

Informational

What is this type of class?
Informational classes are designed to enhance enrollees’ knowledge of cyber security. College courses available for students to audit online can be considered informational.

Who takes this type of course?
Students who seek personal development of cyber security skills without the need for formal credentials.

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10 Best Online Security Courses

There are numerous online cyber security courses, though topics, length and format can vary significantly. The following list highlights a 10 of the high-quality cyber security classes along with basic information helpful to those deciding which options best suit their goals.

Introduction to Cyber Security

Offered by: Udemy
Price: $50
Length: 55 lectures spanning 13 hours
Format: Video lectures
Eligible for college credit?: No

An introductory course that covers advanced cyber security topics. The curriculum begins by defining cyber security and outlining its evolution. Students will study weaknesses and vulnerabilities in popular information technology systems and how to attack and protect them.

Cryptography

Offered by: University of Maryland via Coursera
Price: $49
Length: Seven weeks
Format: Video lectures, reading assignments and quizzes
Eligible for college credit?: No

A foundational class that provides an overview of cryptography, the course begins with fundamental concepts of cryptographic systems then advances to practical applications. Due to the mathematical nature of cryptography, a strong background in mathematics is recommended for incoming students.

Software Security

Offered by: University of Maryland via Coursera
Price: $49
Length: Six weeks
Format: Video lectures
Eligible for college credit?: No

Students will review various aspects of software security, including different types of security measures and how they might be compromised. This course is ideal for students with some prior coding experience.

Usable Security

Offered by: University of Maryland via Coursera
Price: $49
Length: Seven weeks
Format: Video lectures and quizzes
Eligible for college credit?: No

For a security system to work, it must be practical to use. Usable security is a course that takes hardware and software security concepts and applies them to real-world use. Students will also gain fundamental knowledge regarding human-computer interaction.

Applied Cryptography

Offered by: Udacity
Price: Free
Length: Eight weeks
Format: Instructor videos and exercises
Eligible for college credit?: No

Applied Cryptography is an advanced course that applies cryptographic concepts to real life situations. From making telephone calls to protecting financial information when using a credit card, this course will teach students how cryptography works, can fail or be misused.

Cyberwar, Surveillance and Security

Offered by: University of Adelaide via edX
Price: Free (audit) or $50 (verified certificate)
Length: Six weeks
Format: Video lecture
Eligible for college credit?: No

This law-based course examines how people are monitored online. Multiple viewpoints are presented, as are new technologies used for surveillance operations and online security. This is an introductory course with no prior experience necessary.

Quantum Cryptography

Offered by: CaltechX and DelftX via edX
Price: Free (audit) or $50 (verified certificate)
Length: 10 weeks
Format: Video lecture
Eligible for college credit?: No

Quantum Cryptography explores the application of quantum principles to data protection. Unlike most cryptographic systems today, which rely on mathematical complexity, quantum cryptography relies on scientific principles. Students will gain foundational knowledge of quantum cryptology and its modern applications, such as quantum key distribution.

Certified White Hat Hacker Level 1 (Advanced)

Offered by: Udemy
Price: $20
Length: 29 lectures spanning two-and-a-half hours
Format: Video lectures and a quiz
Eligible for college credit?: No

Intended for information technology professionals, this course teaches students how to assess the security of online assets, such as databases and networks. Learners will examine advanced penetration testing, ethical hacking techniques, and the various Internet and network security tools that are available.

Network and Computer Security

Offered by: MIT OpenCourseWare
Price: Free
Length: Self-paced, but originally offered over approximately 12 weeks
Format: Lecture notes, reading assignments, quizzes, problem sets and a class project.
Eligible for college credit?: No

This advanced course addresses computer and network security issues and the cryptology disciplines involved. A background in computer algorithms, computer hardware engineering and advanced mathematical concepts advised.

Elliptic Curves

Offered by: MIT OpenCourseWare
Price: Free
Length: Self-paced, but originally offered over 12 weeks
Format: Lecture notes and problems set assignments in PDF and SWS format
Eligible for college credit?: No

This course introduces students to the mathematical principle of elliptical curves, number theory and cryptography. Although this is an introductory course, advanced algebra experience is strongly recommended.

Why Take an Online Class in Cyber Security?

Technology is everywhere. Almost every business uses the internet in some way, and many store sensitive information on their computers and servers. Professionals in a wide variety of industries can benefit from learning more about the theoretical and practical cyber security applications. A convenient way to obtain this must-have knowledge through online classes. Here are a few more reasons to consider them.

With the explosion of data captured by individuals, business and governments, it is important that professionals in many fields-from medicine to law to financial markets-know how to protect it. That means understanding how information technology systems and devices can be breached and secured.

Whether one is a database manager trying to choose a server data security vendor, a small business owner deciding which data encryption software to use, or a police detective investigating identity theft, learning about cyber security issues and underlying concepts can be valuable knowledge.

While online learning is growing exponentially, not all subjects can be taught exclusively through online classes. Cyber security is one of the exceptions. Instead of completing internships and labs, students learn through video lectures, PDF handouts, quizzes and online projects.

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Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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