Introduction

In recent years, the digital landscape has evolved tremendously. From borderless communication to sharing files over the cloud, mobile devices, emails, processing financial transactions, or organizational operations, the world has immersed itself into cyberspace due to its immense capabilities.

Although the continuous expansion of technologies has benefited businesses and contributed to personal uses, there is a global crisis in increasing cybercrimes.

With the growth in such cyber threats, it is vital to address them with a reliable cybersecurity solution and framework capable of mitigating these risks and ensuring the users’ security and privacy in the digital space. As digitization continues to broaden its reach, there is an inestimable variety of attacks faced by a wide variety of users.

Governments, organizations, and even personal space frequently face attacks such as data breaches, ransomware, data manipulation, financial leaks, and corrupted software.

Therefore, the demand for expert cybersecurity has skyrocketed in the industry. Besides a lucrative job offer, cybersecurity professionals are highly motivated due to the personal satisfaction of contributing to society.

All the aspirants and professionals looking for a career in cybersecurity must grasp the relevant knowledge while building upon the practical skillset. The article aims to provide some of the top courses to help step foot in the cybersecurity industry.

1. Cybersecurity Specialization – Coursera

Cybersecurity Specialization – Coursera

The University of Maryland offers the course on the Coursera platform. It is 8 months duration specialization course that covers the fundamentals of a secure system. Also, essential concepts like hardware and software requirements to implement in a computer interface for secure interactions using cryptography are covered in depth. Additionally, the concepts are illustrated with examples and hands-on exercises using relevant tools and techniques.

The learners will be equipped with security-oriented concepts and tackle security threats by building reliable systems to provide all the required protection. By the end of the course, the learners will have a clear understanding of software of some of the most useful concepts such as:

  • Software Testing
  • Cryptography
  • Usability
  • Penetration Test
  • Cybersecurity and privacy
  • User Interface
  • Fuzz Testing
  • Butter Overflow
  • SQL Injection
  • Number Theory and Public-key Cryptography
  • The course modules are:
  • Usable Security
  • Software Security
  • Cryptography
  • Hardware Security

Instructor: Jennifer Golbeck, Michael Hicks, Jonathan Katz, and Gang Qu

Level: Intermediate

Video Lectures: NA

User Review: 4.4/5

Price: Free Enrollment (Additional charges may apply for certificate)

2. IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate – Coursera

IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate – Coursera

IBM offers the 4 months cybersecurity course on the Coursera platform. It is among the best online cybersecurity courses that offer industry exposure as well. The course covers the essential concepts of cybersecurity tools and processes, system administration, operating system and database vulnerabilities, and different cyber-attacks. Also, the learners will get an insight into the basics of networking, cryptography, and digital forensics.

At the end of the course, the learners will be aware of the evolution of security requirements, access management and understand the types of malicious software and crucial cybersecurity tools, including firewall, antivirus, cryptography, and penetration testing. The learners will be eligible to earn an IBM digital badge after the specialization. The course curriculum includes the following.

  • Introduction to Cybersecurity Tools and Cyber Attacks
  • Cybersecurity Roles, Processes and Operating System Security
  • Cybersecurity Compliance Framework and System Administration
  • Network security and Database Vulnerabilities

Instructor: IBM Global Subject Matter Experts
Level: Beginner
Video Lectures: NA
User Review: 4.6/5
Price: Free Enrollment (Additional charges may apply for certificate)

3. Introduction to Cybersecurity – University of Washington – edX

Introduction to Cybersecurity – University of Washington – edX

The cybersecurity certification course is available on the edX platform. The course focuses on introducing the fundamentals of cybersecurity. It is ideal for learners looking to build a career as a cybersecurity professional. The learners will also be aware of the legal environment’s impact on cybersecurity and the predominant security threats in the digital platform.

The takeaways from the course are familiarity with the key terms and concepts in cybersecurity, identifying the threat actors, existing controls for different types of threats, interactions between international agencies related to cybersecurity, and potential challenges in the field. The total length of the course is 6 weeks and is self-paced.

Instructor: Barbara Endicott-Popovsky
Level: Beginner
Video Lectures: NA
User Review: NA
Price: Free Enrollment (Approximately $197 for certification)

4. Cybersecurity Basics: A Hands-on Approach – Universidad Carlos III de Madrid – edX

The course is offered on the edX platform. The program provides the fundamentals to build the necessary cybersecurity skills to begin a career in the field. The course covers the essentials and provides crucial information on the potential threats in the cybersecurity landscape.

The learners will understand how to build countermeasures to tackle the threats and gain a practical approach to all the concepts. Some of the key concepts covered are cybersecurity fundamentals, reverse engineering, management, monitoring network security attacks, computer forensics, malware, and persistent threats and vulnerability management. The course modules are:

  • Cybersecurity: An Overview
  • Computer Forensics
  • Assembly Programming: Towards Reversing
  • Cyberdefense
  • Malware
  • Vulnerabilities and Exposures

Instructor: Lorena Gonzalez Manzano, Jose Maria de Fuentes, Pedro Peris-Lopez and Juan E Tapiador

Level: Intermediate

Video Lectures: NA

User Review: NA

Price: Free Enrollment (Approximately $98.2 for certification)

5. Post Graduate Program in Cybersecurity – MIT and EC Council – Simplilearn

The course is offered in collaboration with MIT SCC and EC council on the Simplilearn platform. The course covers the comprehensive approaches to provide the necessary protection to the infrastructure and secure the data. Furthermore, the learners will learn to perform risk analysis and mitigation, cloud-based security, and compliance.  At the end of the course, the learners will master the skills on

  • Advanced ethical hacking concepts
  • Network packet analysis
  • Security assessment for mobile and web technologies
  • IDS firewalls
  • Security and risk management
  • Network security
  • Software development security
  • Cryptography
  • Security Assessment and Testing
  • Trojans Backdoors and Countermeasures
  • The course modules are:
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity
  • Design Systems to secure applications, networks, and devices
  • Build a hacker mindset and defend against future attacks
  • Design, engineer, and manage the overall security posture of an organization
  • Cybersecurity: Technology, application, and policy
  • Capstone

Instructor: Srini Devadas and other MIT and EC council Experts

Level: Intermediate

Video Lectures: NA

User Review: 4.6/5

Price: $1712 /yearly or $58.9/Monthly

6. Introduction to Cybersecurity Nanodegree Program – Udacity

The course is a specialization course available on the Udacity platform. It is of 4 months duration and covers a wide range of topics on cybersecurity. The learners can understand the foundations of cybersecurity, evaluate and, maintain and monitor the security of computer systems.

Besides, the learners will be capable of assessing threats and responding to incidents as per the type of threats and the security controls to reduce risks and meet an organization’s security compliance goals. The prerequisites of the course include familiarity with network connectivity concepts and basic operating system fundamentals.

The learners will have access to real-world projects, project reviews and feedback from industry experts, technical mentoring, and student community support. The course modules are:

  • Cybersecurity Foundations
  • Defending and Securing Systems
  • Threats, Vulnerabilities and Incident Response
  • Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Instructor: Ron Woerner, Jerry Smith, Christine Izuakor, and Sean Pike

Level: Beginner

Video Lectures: NA

User Review: 4.6/5

Price: $657 /yearly or $234 Monthly

7. The Complete Cyber Security Course – Udemy

The Complete Cyber Security Course – Udemy

The course is available on the Udemy platform. The course covers the building blocks of security, privacy, and anonymity. There is a strong emphasis on building the practical skill set for mitigating the risk from malware, Trojan, hackers, tracker, and online threats. The course is aimed at beginners as well as intermediate-level learners.

By the end of the course, the learners can grasp the concepts of advanced practical approaches for tackling the threats, updated methods, and exploring the types of threats, including the darknets. Finally, the learners will have an in-depth knowledge of security solutions. The course curriculum includes the following:

  • Introduction
  • Threat and Vulnerability Landscape
  • Current Threats
  • Encryption
  • Testing Environment using Virtual Machines
  • Operating System Security and Privacy
  • Security Bugs and Vulnerabilities
  • Reducing Threat Privilege
  • Social Engineering for Offense and Defense
  • Security Domains
  • Security Through Isolation and Compartmentalization
  • Wrap Up

Instructor: Nathan House

Level: Beginner/ Intermediate

Video Lectures: 124 Video Lectures

User Review: 4.5/5

Price: $6.2

8. Cybersecurity Threats: Ransomware – Pluralsight

On the online learning platform, this course is among the ones that focus entirely on the existing cyber threats and cyber-attacks. The course is offered on Pluralsight. The course provides a comprehensive knowledge of the ransomware’s typical infection points to get into the system. The learners can understand the options of recovering the encrypted files and the necessary tools available today.

Additionally, the learners will understand how to recover the system that has suffered a ransomware attack.

Finally, the learners will know critical concepts of what an individual must know if someone decides to pay the ransom. Also, the learners can understand how to defend the network and system and the response plans that should be readily available. The course modules are:

  • Course Overview
  • Types of Ransomware
  • Ransomware Timeline
  • What is Ransomware: The problem, ransomware victims, module progress checkpoint, demo, and variations
  • Ransomware Entry Points: Infection vectors, phishing and email attachments, embedded hyperlinks, standard exploit kits, indicators of compromise
  • Incident Response: Detection and Containment: Indicators, detecting an attack, containing an attack
  • Eradication and Recovery: Recovery local and network files, recovery cloud storage files, tools, nomoreransom,.org, paying the ransom
  • Preparing the Incident Response: Defending the attack, protecting a windows network, next-generation antivirus, and anti-malware, response plan
  • Summary

Instructor: Richard Harpur

Level: Intermediate

Video Lectures: 36 Video Lectures

User Review: 4.8/5

Price: Free 10-Day Trial (Price Available on Sing Up)

9. MicroBachelors Program in Cybersecurity Fundamentals – edX

MicroBachelors Program in Cybersecurity Fundamentals – edX

NYU offers the course on the edX platform. It is a comprehensive 1-year program with credits that covers all the aspects of cybersecurity. The learners will be well-equipped with the following topics:

  • Develop a security mindset while remaining ethical
  • Implementation of security design principles
  • Have a clear understanding of core concepts of access control
  • Implement reference monitors
  • Apply security policies for modern-day operating systems
  • Analysis of the security of a basic security system
  • Understand virtualization and the impact of security and efficiency
  • Ethical penetration testing and implementation of a repeatable mature methodology
  • Identifying vulnerabilities and mitigation
  • Responsible disclosure of findings
  • Identify flaws and vulnerabilities in applications, websites, networks, and systems
  • Configuration with manual techniques and assistive tools
  • Testing various types of vulnerabilities
  • Fundamentals of secure network design
  • Issues involved in secured networks
  • Cryptography for secure communications and authorization
  • Enumerate the issues with the provision of secure networks

The course modules are:

  • Introduction to Information Security
  • Authentication and Access Control
  • Advanced Topics
  • Introduction to Network Security
  • Protocols
  • Advanced Topics
  • Discovering Vulnerabilities
  • Exploitation
  • Post Exploitation
  • Certificate and College Credit
  • Job Outlook

Instructor: Justin Cappos and Aspen Olmsted

Level: Intermediate

Video Lectures: NA

User Review: NA

Price: $1334

10. Cybersecurity Fundamentals – Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – edX

The course is available on the edX platform. The course provides an introduction to the field of computing security. The learners will have an overview of various computing security branches.

The essentials of cybersecurity concepts, issues, and tools are covered in-depth. Furthermore, the techniques for protecting systems and network infrastructures are covered as well.

Also, the learners will gain a solid understanding of analyzing and monitoring potential threats and attacks and the necessary security solutions for organizations. 

The learners will have a thorough understanding of network and system administration fundamentals, confidentiality, integrity, availability, and cryptography concepts. The course modules are:

  • Getting Started
  • Computer Security Concepts and Problems
  • Cryptography
  • Networking
  • System Administration
  • Detection and Prevention
  • Malware and Forensics
  • Conclusion

Instructor: Jonathan S Weissman

Level: Advanced

Video Lectures: NA

User Review: NA

Price: Free Enrollment ($247 for certification)

Top Cybersecurity Tips to Protect from Common Attacks

  1. Ensure that the software and the operating system are updated with the latest security patches.
  2. Always opt for the original versions of OS.
  3. Use antivirus software to detect and remove threats swiftly.
  4. Make sure to use strong passwords and use two-step verification.
  5. Run an antivirus check on the email attachments before accessing them.
  6. Scan USB drives have been used on public computers to ensure no malware is transferred into the personal PC.
  7. Never access emails from unknown senders.
  8. Never access unfamiliar websites.
  9. Avoid accessing public networks and Wi-Fi.
  10. Secure your network and PC with strong passwords.
  11. Trust only https:// based URLs.

Overview of Cybersecurity & Threats

Cybersecurity is the practice that enables computers, servers, mobile devices, networks, data, and systems to be secured against malicious attacks. It is considered a subset of IT security aimed at protecting the digital components used in cyberspace.

Cyberattacks are targeted at accessing and altering sensitive information, while some cases have reported extortion of money and interruption of a regular business operation.

As cyberattacks are becoming more complex, the need for cybersecurity has grown in recent years. However, implementing cybersecurity is challenging as the number and types of devices have multiplied. The cybersecurity types are divided into different categories which are:

Critical infrastructure security: It consists of cyber-physical systems that are inclusive of grid and water purification systems.

Network security: Network security is responsible for protecting internal networks from threats with a secured infrastructure. Some examples include providing strong passwords and the modern two-factor authentication that is the most preferred.

Application security: Application security is concerned with the software and hardware aspects to protect the external threats existing in the developmental stage of an application. Examples include antivirus programs, firewalls, and encryption.

Information security: Information security is related to the protection of physical and digital data. The protection is generally in the form of security for unauthorized access.

Cloud security: Cloud security is for the newer technologies and solutions on the cloud platform. The security includes monitoring the data in the cloud and eliminating risk factors linked with on-premise attacks.

Data loss prevention: Data loss prevention is associated with tackling the issues of loss of data and developing policies for situations involving a cyber-security attack. Some of the solutions are the availability of network permissions and additional policies for data storage.

End-user education:  The cybersecurity systems are vulnerable due to a lack of proper usage. Therefore, end-user education aims to teach users the best practices of not accessing unknown links or downloading suspicious email attachments.

According to RiskBased Security, an estimate of 7.9 billion records have been a part of data breaches in the year 2019.  Another statistic provided by International Data Corporation states that the predicted global spending on cybersecurity solutions will be a whopping $133.7 billion by 2022.

Types of Cyber Threats

Phishing

Phishing is the act of sending fraudulent emails that resemble a trusted source. The primary aim is to access sensitive data such as credit card or bank account details and login information. This is among the most common forms of cyber-attack in recent times.

Ransomware

Ransomware is associated with malicious software. Ransomware enables access to the systems and threatens users to pay the ransom, and the failure to pay the amount leads to continuous blocking of the files and computer systems. However, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that the files will be recovered or be available in their originality.

Malware

Malware is the type of cyber-attack that provides unauthorized access to a user’s system with the sole purpose of doing permanent damage to a computer.

Social engineering

Social engineering threats are related to the download of the malware unknowingly by clicking malicious links. Such an attack allows gaining unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Conclusion

The world is engulfed in the digital era. With the advent of emerging and exciting technologies, organizations and personal usage have been dependent on them. While the technologies’ potential has tremendous benefits, several associated risks come with integrating these technologies. 

As the cyber threats loom large, the mode of cyberattacks has become innovative and performed with state-of-the-art technologies, thereby making them complicated.

The need for cybersecurity is a must. As per IBM reports, the average cost of a data breach is a staggering $3.86 million, while the USA alone recorded a breach of $8.64 million. On the other hand, the healthcare sector has a data breach amounting to $7.13 billion in the past year.

Several common approaches can be implemented in the day-to-day lives of a regular user in the digital platform to avoid inevitable common mistakes and avoid cyber-attacks. However, the type of threats has mainly become complex and takes a longer duration to solve, thereby causing irreplaceable damages. Thus, the need for cybersecurity professionals has risen across industries.

According to the LinkedIn Emerging Jobs report for 2020, cybersecurity specialists rank as the top 10 jobs in the current job market. 

With the number of data breaches and other forms of cyber threats increasing rapidly, it’s no secret that the cybersecurity specialist roles draw an average salary of $1183k, whereas the most experienced professional draws $1821k.

Cybersecurity experts’ lookout is spread across industries such as information technology, defense and space, computer network and security, healthcare, management consulting, and financial services.

The recent job trends suggest an expected growth rate of 30% for a cybersecurity specialist role which is a motivating factor to dive into this industry. To have a successful career as a cybersecurity specialist, the need for theoretical and practical knowledge is of high priority.

One must be fully aware of each of the terminologies and the concepts associated with each type of attack and, at the same time, be able to solve them with proper practical skillset.

The importance of hands-on experience is a must, and it is an added advantage to have a clear idea about the associated domains such as networking that is closely related to cybersecurity.

With many online platforms, it is a challenging task to find the right course for an individual. Some courses charge heavily while the course content doesn’t meet the domain’s standards or the learner’s level.

Therefore, it is essential to opt for a course that provides the right balance of theory and practical exposure to its learners. Another critical aspect of choosing a course is selecting a course backed by a more vital institution or a well-known technology company as the certification is of utmost importance to land a job in the IT industry.

A more substantial certification along with the skill set gives confidence to an employer about the individual. Thus, this article focused on providing some of the most popular courses on cybersecurity on the online platform.

With the market having a more robust demand for experts, now is the opportune moment for aspirants and professionals to embark on a successful cybersecurity specialist journey.

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Anthony Cornell

Anthony Cornell

Anthony Cornell is a freelance technology journalist. He reviews educational software and writes in-depth online course reviews from popular e-learning platforms. You can reach Anthony at anthony@learnacourseonline.com

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