Cyber Security


Understand Cyber Security, the types of threats resulting in cyber attacks, and defense mechanisms available.

Course CodeVIT103
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


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Digital literacy is essential in today's world. Learn about the traces we leave online, how to improve your digital privacy, and potential threats.

This course introduces the concept of Cyber Security, explains various types of threats available resulting in cyber attacks, and develops your understanding of the defence mechanisms available.

Lesson Structure

There are 11 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Cyber Security and cyber attacks/defences
  2. Vulnerability Assessment
  3. Securing the facilities and networks
  4. Securing your online digital footprint
  5. Internet Security and Digital Certificates
  6. Wireless Network Vulnerabilities, Attacks and Security
  7. Firewalls, IDS and IPS
  8. Cryptography
  9. Access Control and Authentication
  10. Cyber attack Disaster Recovery strategies
  11. Ongoing Security Management

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Define cyber security.
  • Explain the goals and importance of cyber security.
  • Understand important terminology relating to cyber security and list some attacks and defence mechanisms.
  • Explain how to perform a vulnerability assessment.
  • Understand the tools and techniques available.
  • Compare and contrast vulnerability scanning and penetration testing.
  • Explain how to secure physical data storage, data centre security, data warehouse and networks.
  • Understand the effects of leaving a wide online digital footprint.
  • Understand the options available for users to manage their online digital footprint.
  • Understand what a firewall, an Intrusion Detection System (IDS), and an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) represent in the world of cyber security.
  • Explain the importance and functions of firewalls, IDS and IPS systems, and the benefits and protection they offer in protecting computers as well as computer networks.
  • Understand the concept of cryptography and the importance of encrypting and decrypting data.
  • Explain components of cryptographic protocols and common standards used in encryption and decryption.
  • Understand the importance of digital signatures and digital certificates in securing web traffic.
  • List the various types of wireless data communications networks and understand types of vulnerabilities and attacks against each of them.
  • Explain wireless network security standards available to protect wireless networks.
  • Define Access Control and become familiar with its terminology.
  • Understand the importance of implementing access control models.
  • Define authentication and understand the importance of creating and securing strong passwords and implementing double-factor or multi-factor authentication.
  • Explain how to recover from a cyber-attack and best procedures for setting up redundancy and quick recovery methods prior and after attack has occurred and minimizing impacts to systems and networks involved.

What You Will Do

  • Research layered defence concepts and in particular the idea of defence in depth.
  • Research and explain your choice of cyber-attack.
  • Report on good vulnerability scanners currently available in the market.
  • Research 4 privacy enhancing tools online, such as VPNs, password managers, and other encryption software.
  • Research the latest firewall solutions in the market.
  • Research the latest NIDS and HIDS solutions in the market.

Learn to Assess, then Minimise Vulnerabilities

Cybersecurity starts with understanding potential vulnerabilities, then assessing vulnerabilitiy in a particular situation, then finally taking actions to eliminate or prevent those vulnerabilities.

When organizations are trying to secure their assets, knowledge equates to power. As businesses constantly increase their dependence on information technology -- including placing/migrating data to the cloud, IoT (internet of things) devices, mobile devices, social platforms, and others – their exposure to cyber risks continues to rise significantly. However, just like an annual health check, a vulnerability management program can help organizations identify weaknesses in their cyber systems before these turn into problems. 

Security Posture

This is the technical term for an overall security plan. It is everything from initial planning to implementation. An organisation's security posture usually includes:

  • Technical policies
  • Non-technical policies
  • Procedures
  • Controls

Performing a Vulnerability Assessment

The majority of all cyberattacks are designed to exploit known weaknesses and vulnerabilities. And with thousands and thousands of new vulnerabilities discovered every year, it is important for organizations to exercise constant vigilance to evaluate IT security posture and discover weaknesses, as well as to respond appropriately. A robust vulnerability assessment program is the key to responding to this more dangerous threat environment. This is because a vulnerability assessment is a formal process that identifies and quantifies the security weaknesses including the application software, hardware and networks. 

A vulnerability assessment for an organization should produce a clear report containing a list of the components that require attention in the organization’s environment – and where on the list of priorities these components lie. Systems administrators in organizations’ IT departments are constantly updating, patching and applying software patches to their critical systems, however managing software updates and patches is quite a challenging task for IT departments because patches are known to occasionally cause disruption to other software and in some instances, systems requiring patches cannot be taken offline. For this reason, a good vulnerability assessment will provide the organization with a list of prioritized vulnerabilities sorted by system or software (or others) and can be used by the organization’s IT department and used as a to-do list to improve the organization’s security posture. 

It is important for any organization, even if it is not a high priority target, to devise a plan of defence against today’s advanced cyberattacks whereby attackers program the attacks to actively search for vulnerabilities in systems and networks and automatically start their attack process as soon as these are found. It is also important to know that scanning for vulnerability assessments is one thing, and analysing/prioritizing vulnerabilities by including them in an overall “risk management program” is another. 

A typical vulnerability assessment often involves the 5 steps below:

  1. Identifying which assets need to be protected;
  2. Evaluating threats against those assets;
  3. Undertaking vulnerability appraisal to understand how susceptible the current protection method is;
  4. Assessing risks (using the likelihood and impact of any potential weakness exploitation);
  5. Mitigating risks.
 

 



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Josiane Joubran

CSC consultant with IBM, Software QA Engineer, Course Writer and Tutor. Josiane is an I.T professional with extensive experience with computer hardware and engineering in Lebanon and Australia. Josiane has a B.Eng., Grad.Dip.I.T., Master Info.Tech., MCP,
Sarah Jury

Over 15 years working in small business, I.T., education and science. Sarah has a PGCE(Post Compulsory Education), BSc(Hons) (Genetics), DipComp(Open), CertWebApps(Open). She has designed and created several Web sites for different organisations.
Andrew Williams

B.Sc(Hons)
Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay

PhD, LLM, AppSc, Grad Dip Agriculture