Introduction to Cyber Security

4.7 (510 reviews)

350,967 enrolled on this course

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



8 weeks

Weekly study

3 hours



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.



Who is this accredited by?


NCSC – APMG:  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.
NCSC:  The Certificate of Achievement demonstrates you have completed a course that meets the awareness level requirements of NCSC Assured Training.
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.

Introduction to Cyber Security

8 weeks

4.7 (510 reviews)

350,967 enrolled on this course

3 hours per week

Digital certificate when eligible

Accreditation available

Introductory level

FutureLearn Programmes

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…

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.

Who will you learn with?

Arosha K.Bandara

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.

Who developed the course?

In 2012, The Open University (OU) founded FutureLearn to extend its mission to open education to all. OU courses on FutureLearn are designed and delivered by world-class academics, with many endorsed by leading industry experts – combining academic excellence and relevance to help individuals and businesses to upskill quickly and achieve their learning goals.

Did you know?

  • The OU is the UK’s largest University and has pioneered distance learning for over 50 years. With currently over 175,000 students in the UK and overseas, they have helped more than 2.2 million students realise their ambitions.
  • Over 70% of OU students are in full-time or part-time employment, with 77% of FTSE 100 companies sponsoring staff to study OU courses.
  • More CEOs and Managing Directors of UK companies have studied with the OU than any other UK university.
  • The OU is rated one of the best in the UK for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.
  • The OU has partnered with the BBC for 50 years, with OU academics providing expert input to around 35 programmes per year.

Endorsers and supporters
supported by

HM gov

EC x FutureLearn