In the face of one of the worst pandemics the world has ever seen, many people are trying to find the best methods of furthering their education and/or career without sacrificing their health. Luckily online courses are a great method of achieving both of these things and more.
Free online courses won’t replace a degree, but for those who are already in the security field, or who are considering a career change into security, free courses can have some real benefits. Getting a feel for the occupation, learning new skills, and even earning a certificate or certification that can increase your job market value.
1. Amnesty International – Digital Security and Human Rights
Amnesty International’s Digital Security and Human Rights course provides students is one of many free online security courses that can give students peace of mind in today’s ever-changing world. For students who have ever been concerned about protecting their online identity, this course is the perfect way to delve into exactly how dangerous the online world can be, and exactly who has access to personal information. Staying safe online is a human rights issue, and this course teaches students not only how to protect their own rights, but how to protect the rights of others.
Amnesty International has a long-standing history of fighting for the rights of people who cannot fight for themselves. This free course allows the organization to reach an audience around the world with information that can help them to stay strong in the fight for human rights. Students in this course get the opportunity to connect with others around the world who share the same commitment to protecting others from injustice.
Useful Fact: Students who take this course have the option of paying for a completion certificate, which can be a valuable addition to any resume.
2. EIT Digital – Security and Privacy for Big Data
For learners who are interested in cybersecurity, EIT Digital’s free online security courses, including Security and Privacy for Big Data – Part 1, are a great way to start learning about security in the digital world. This course teaches students the basics of cryptography, including how to manage security access within their network systems.
EIT Digital is a leading education provider in the digital security world. They work to make technological education available to professionals around the world. The organization works to make content public on a regular basis, allowing people to access their content for free in an effort to make the digital world a safer place for all.
Useful Fact: EIT Digital is a European organization that provides high quality tech education to the professionals at all stages of their careers.
3. Erasmus University Rotterdam – International Security Management
The International Security Management course at Erasmus University Rotterdam is one of the many free security courses online that can teach students how to stay safe and secure in today’s ever-changing world. In this course, students learn about organized crime and illicit trade, and how these activities run rampant in the digital world. Students also learn about current efforts being made to take down people who participate in these activities online.
Erasmus University believes in providing students with education that’s engaging and fun, while also providing a deep understanding of the subject at hand. The University films it’s digital courses at several locations throughout Europe, allowing students to see their instructors in their home environment.
Useful Fact: Erasmus University Rotterdamn is one of the top 100 research universities in the world.
4. Georgia Institute of Technology – Intro to Information Security
Today’s digital world means that people are more connected than ever. While an overwhelmingly positive notion, the interconnectedness of today’s digital world lends itself to one of a kind security issues. At Georgia Institute of Technology, Intro to Information Security is one of several free online security courses that teaches students how to stay safe in today’s ever changing digital world.
At Georgia Institute of Technology, students learn from esteemed professors who are at the forefront of research in the digital world. This course digs deep into issues at the root of the hard questions in technology, including ethics, morals, and how to keep tech users around the world safe.
Useful Fact: Located in Atlanta, Georgia Tech attracts some of the top technology professors in the world, providing students with a unique and fulfilling learning experience.
5. Georgia Institute of Technology – Network Security
Georgia Institute of Technology’s Network Security course is one of several free online security courses that can teach students how to keep themselves safe when sharing their information online. This course is applicable both on a personal and business level, and can be useful for professionals who want to learn how to keep their work information safe. Students in this course learn the basics of systems security, cryptanalysis, and cryptography.
It’s recommended that students already have an intermediate understanding of technology before entering this course. This 15 week course requires 10 to 15 hours of study per week, or more if students are lacking in the understanding of basic cybersecurity concepts.
Useful Fact: This course is taught by professor Wenke Lee, a respected researcher in the field of cybersecurity.
6. Google – IT Security: Defense Against the Digital Dark Arts
Technology giant Google is no stranger to IT security issues, and the company is providing free online security courses to people who are interested in learning more about how to protect themselves in cyberspace. Google’s free course, IT Security: Defense against the digital dark arts, teaches students how to identify and protect themselves against nefarious agents online. While this course delves deep into complicated online security concepts, it also teaches students how to break down those concepts and explain them to others who may not have technology expertise.
Google is one of the top technology research facilities in the world, and learning from the tech giant is a fantastic addition to a resume. Google asks the hard questions when it comes to technology, and isn’t afraid to look at what isn’t working and how it needs to change. From firewalls to encryption, this course tackles the hard aspects of technology and breaks them down in a way that students can understand.
Useful Fact: Now worth over $64 billion, Google has the ability to conduct state of the art industry research in technology.
7. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – Information Systems Auditing, Controls and Assurance
Hong Kong University’s Information Systems Auditing, Controls and Assurance is one of many available free online security courses that teaches students how to understand the information they’re putting online, and how to control who does and does not have access to that information. This teaches students how to manage information in the workplace as well, and how to place controls onto information to choose who does and does not have access.
This course is taught by Garvin Percy Dias, an associate professor of business at Hong Kong University. Students who have taken the course state that Dias is a fantastic instructor who explains things in a way that is clear and concise, and students feel that he truly cares about them as individuals.
Useful Fact: Devoted to tech and science research, Hong Kong University is widely respected as a leader in the tech field worldwide.
8. Leiden University – Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice
The global threat of terrorism can create a scary world, and it’s vital to understand how terrorism and counterterrorism work in order to feel safe. Leiden University’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice is one of several free online security courses that work to help students understand the threat of terrorism, as well as what is being done around the world to stop this threat.
Leiden University boasts an incredible alumni network that connects people around the world, providing unique and exciting job opportunities to graduates. While there are nearly 30,000 on campus students at Leiden, there are thousands more across the world who take advantage of Leiden’s free online courses.
Useful Fact: Leiden University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the Netherlands.
9. Leiden University – Security & Safety Challenges in a Globalized World
In today’s digital world, staying safe is more important than ever. Leiden University’s Security & Safety Challenges in a Globalized World is one of many free security courses online that teaches students how to protect themselves against global security threats. In this class, students learn about global security threats, and why digital security is such a vital part of keeping individual countries safe.
Professors at Leiden believe in studying both practical applications of knowledge and theoretical applications. In this course, students will bring in several disciplines as they learn about network security, including crisis management, medicine, and terrorism studies. Students will also have the opportunity to study and analyze real life cases that allow them to think about how they would handle a security crisis.
Useful Fact: Leiden’s school motto is Praesidium Libertatis (Bastion of Liberty), meaning freedom of spirit, thought and expression.
10. New York University – Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization
New York University’s Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization is one of several free online courses designed to help students understand the complexities of staying safe in an increasingly online world. In this class, students will learn how to develop a plan to stay up to date on the latest in cybersecurity, learn about the latest security techniques (as well as what techniques are now out of date), be able to summarize why security matters, and discuss the basics of cybersecurity.
NYU works hard to develop students into lifelong learners, and prioritizes helping students make plans that keep them coming back to get more from their education. This mindset is key in staying at the top of an ever changing digital world.
Useful Fact: Situated in the heart of New York City, NYU attracts some of the best faculty in the world, allowing students to learn from world class experts.
11. New York University – Real-Time Cyber Threat Detection and Mitigation
For students who work in arenas where cyber threats can be a matter of life and death, understanding how to detect a threat is key. NYU’s Real-Time Cyber Threat Detection and Mitigation is one of several free security courses online that can provide students with the information they need to identify and stop cyber threats.
17% of students who participated in this course got a promotion or pay increase, making it clear that cyber threat detection is a well respected skill in today’s digital workplace. This class caters to busy professionals, as the deadlines are flexible. Students are able to learn on their own schedule, making it simple to keep up with the demands of the course.
Useful Fact: Students at NYU have the opportunity to participate in unique symposiums and cultural opportunities unlike anything else in the world.
12. Open SUNY – International Cyber Conflicts
For students who want to learn more about cyber warn, International Cyber Conflicts at Open SUNY is one of many great free online security courses offered by the school. Students in this course leave understanding the characteristics of cyber conflicts and threats, and what is currently being done around the world to improve cybersecurity.
Taught by Sanjay Goel, students speak highly of this course, stating that Goel’s description of the psychology behind certain cyber behaviors is fascinating. This course digs deep into not only how people use cyberspace to facilitate conflict, but also why they choose this medium. Students walk away from this class with a deeper understanding of the threats of today’s digital world.
Useful Fact: The State University of New York has a total of 64 individual institutions, and is the largest system of higher learning in the United States.
13. Stanford University – Cryptography I
One of several free online security courses, Stanford University’s Cryptography I class is perfect for students who want to learn more about the basics of cryptography. Cryptography is a tool for protecting information within computer systems. Students will learn how cryptographic systems work, and how to apply this knowledge to real world applications.
39% of students who took this course went on to a new career path. Stanford University is a well-respected research institution, and adding this course to a resume can be a valuable tool in the competitive cybersecurity job market.
Useful Fact: Course instructor Dan Boneh won the Ishii award for education innovation in 2019.
14. The University of Queensland – Psychology of Criminal Justice
The Psychology of Criminal Justice is one of the free online security courses offered by the University of Queensland for students who want to learn more about the reasoning behind the criminal justice system, and how it affects those involved. This course works to teach students how behavioral science can work to change and improve the criminal justice system. By understanding the complicated behaviors behind crime and recidivism, it’s possible to change the factors that lead to crime in the first place.
This fascinating course works to take students through the steps of solving an actual crime, putting the pieces together not only to figure out who did what – but why the committed each behavior. This course provides a unique look into the factors that affect security and crime in today’s increasingly digital world. Students benefit from the immersive approach to learning that this course provides. This course also focuses on where the criminal justice system can go wrong, and opens students’ eyes to the fact that the world of criminal justice is far from foolproof.
Useful Fact: Located in the capital city of Australia, The University of Queensland attracts some of the most creative minds in the world and is known as one of the best universities in Australia.
15. University of California, Davis – Secure Coding Practices Specialization
UC Davis offers free online security courses including Secure Coding Practices Specialization. This course is perfect for students who want to get started with coding, or are curious about coding but aren’t sure if it would be a good career choice for them. In this course, students learn to apply basic cryptography to threat models, to improve program security, to remediate fragile code, and to find and fix injection problems within security systems.
This course includes an application project, perfect for students who are not yet familiar with coding and cybersecurity. This provides students with the real world experience they need in order to successfully apply the skills they’ve learned to technology programs.
Useful Fact: This course is taught by Dr. Matthew Bishop, a leader in the field of coding.
16. University of Adelaide – Cyberwar, Surveillance and Security
For students who are curious about how the digital age has affected security, University of Adelaide is offering Cyberwar, Surveillance and Security, one of the many free security courses online available to people who want to learn more about cybersecurity.
This course is a quick way to learn more about cyber war. In just six weeks, and in only two to three hours a week, students will be prepared to actively participate in the ongoing debate on cybersecurity. Students have the opportunity to purchase a certificate showing their completion of the course.
Useful Fact: University of Adelaide is the third oldest university in Australia, established in 1874.
17. University of Colorado – Advanced System Security Design Specialization
University of Colorado’s Advanced System Security Design Specialization course is one of the free online security courses available to students who are interested in expanding their digital security knowledge. Students learn how to work securely within cloud services, how to apply basic security in blockchain systems and TOR network, how to evaluate and analyze DDoS attacks, and how to understand attribute and geo-location based access security. Students also learn how to apply XACML in ABAC systems.
A leading research institution, students who take classes at University of Colorado have the opportunity to learn from some of the most esteemed faculty in the world. U of C faculty have been awarded five Nobel prizes, and continually work to do research that makes the world a safer place.
Useful Fact: University of Colorado was the first university of the Colorado higher education system, and was established in 1876 just before Colorado officially became a part of the United States.
18. University of Colorado – Fundamentals of Computer Network Security Specialization
At University of Colorado, Fundamentals of Computer Network Security Specialization is a course for learners who want to learn about security in the digital world. Students walk away from this course with several new skills, including the ability to hack web applications, the ability to find and patch vulnerabilities within web applications, the ability to install/ sign/ and verify public and private keys for both client authentication and web servers, and the ability to create certificate requests. Students will also be able to write secure web apps.
This course includes an online applied learning project, which gives students the chance to apply what they’ve learned in real world scenarios. An applied learning project also gives students feedback from their instructor, helping them to improve their skills before they use them on the job or in higher education.
Useful Fact: University of Colorado is the only school in the Rocky Mountain region to be accepted into the Association of American Universities, an elite collection of research-based schools.
19. University of Colorado – Homeland Security & Cybersecurity Connection – It’s Not About the Terrorists
One of University of Colorado’s free security courses online, Homeland Security & Cybersecurity Connection – It’s Not About the Terrorists, is perfect for students who want to learn more about how the nation needs to protect itself cyber threats. Students in this track work through four courses: homeland security/ cybersecurity connection, cybersecurity policy for water and electricity, cybersecurity policy for aviation, and homeland security/ cyber security future. Students get a well rounded education that helps them fully understand how cybersecurity and homeland security go hand in hand.
This is a beginner level course with flexible deadlines that allow students to take advantage of the time they have available. Geared toward adult learners, this online class lets students learn at their own pace, on their own time. Students get the benefit of interacting with other busy professionals who are putting in the work to further their education while also furthering their careers.
Useful Fact: Alumni of University of Colorado are immediately accepted into the school’s dues-free alumni society, connecting them with a nationwide network of fellow graduates.
20. University of Colorado – Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Future
Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Future is one of the free online security courses for students who want to learn more about how cybersecurity and network protection will affect the future of the United States. This course teaches students about the personal considerations they may want to make before they decide whether the field of cybersecurity is a good career choice for them.
While most courses focus on how students who are interested in cybersecurity can help others, this course turns the focus inward, and encourages students to consider whether a career in cybersecurity is a good fit for them. This is a key part of future career satisfaction, and it’s important that students consider whether they can handle the stress and constantly changing nature of a career in cybersecurity.
Useful Fact: University of Colorado encourages students to volunteer, and even provides the entire school with a day off each year to focus on giving back to the community.
21. University of Georgia – Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things
University of Georgia’s free online security courses are a great way for students interested in technology to learn more about how to stay safe online. Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things is a class designed to delve into how the Internet of Things – which involves smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa – can pose threats to security. If you’re interested in learning more about how the internet works to connect people to the items in their homes, this course may be perfect for you.
33% of students report that they started a new career after completing courses on the IoT. More and more, devices are working their way into every day life, and it’s important for today’s cybersecurity professionals to understand how these items work to intertwine real life and cyber life. Many people in today’s digital world are afraid of how digital devices listen in to every day conversations, and people who are experts in how the IoT works to collect information can be assets to companies that utilize these technologies in their products, as they have the ability to calm fears and reassure consumers.
Useful Fact: One of the oldest schools in the United States, The University of Georgia was founded in 1785.
22. University of Maryland – Cybersecurity Specialization
University of Maryland’s Cybersecurity Specialization course is one of the school’s several free security courses online. In this course, students learn about the intersection of user interface, privacy, and cybersecurity. They also explore the fundamentals of the creation of secure systems, how these systems play a role in protecting valuable digital information.
This course puts a heavy focus on real world application. While students learn theory, they also learn how to take practical skills and use them at work. 43% of students were able to begin a new career path after completing this specialization, utilizing the skills they learned to help them advance in their field.
Useful Fact: 85% of students who attend the University of Maryland for a degree program graduate, a hallmark of the school’s strong student support network.
23. University of Maryland – Usable Security
The Usable Security course at University of Maryland is one of the many free online security courses offered to students around the world. Often, security systems only focus on how to protect the system, with little focus on how the security changes affect the user. In this course, students learn how to design secure systems in a way that also improves usability. This helps improve human performance while also improving the overall security of a system.
University of Maryland is known as one of the best research institutions in the country, and is heralded in the world of technology for it’s advances in innovation. Students in the course gain access to world class faculty who are there to answer their questions online. This fully online course provides students with an unmatched education in how to create systems that make sense not just for companies that want t keep their data safe – but for users as well.
Useful Fact: University of Maryland – College Park secures $500 million in research funding each year, making it one of the best funded research institutions in the United States.
24. University of Michigan – Internet History, Technology, and Security
University of Michigan’s Internet History, Technology, and Security is one of the many free online security courses available to students around the world. This class is perfect for students who want to learn more about the history of how the internet has affected security issues around the world over time. History buffs who also love technology will thrive as they learn about how these two worlds combine.
Students at University of Michigan get to learn from top faculty about the issues facing our digital world, and this course provides students with information about how these issues came to be. Nearly half of students who completed this course found that they were able to begin a new career path with the information that they learned. This class has unbeatable value for students, and is a great way to take advantage of the free learning opportunities available online today.
Useful Fact: Originally known as the Catholepistemiad, University of Michigan was founded years before Michigan became an official part of the United States.
25. University of Pittsburgh – Epidemics, Pandemics and Outbreaks
The University of Pittsburgh’s free online course, Epidemics, Pandemics, and Outbreaks, is designed to help students understand how public health professionals work to stop epidemics, and keep epidemics from becoming pandemics. Coursework includes information about public health response, bioterrorism, quarantining, and other relevant policies.
The University of Pittsburgh is one of the nation’s most prominent research institutions, and their School of Public Health is one of the highest-ranked in the world. Students in the Epidemics, Pandemics, and Outbreaks course can earn a shareable certificate for credentialing. The courses takes approximately seven hours to complete, but the schedule is flexible and can be started and stopped at the student’s convenience.
Useful Fact: A third of students in Pitt’s online public health course ultimately took a new career direction.
Why Should I Consider Free Online Security Courses?
- Training Opportunities: If you are seeking a position or career that requires you to be skilled in online security, a free online security course is perfect. This will allow you to pursue an education in security without having to pay or rearrange your schedule.
- Continuing Education: Additionally, continuing education is also a major benefit of taking free online security courses. If you are presently working in a position that requires you to regularly update or upgrade your present knowledge and skills, an online security course will enable you to take the course and upgrade your skills without sacrificing your time or money.
- Learning New Specialized Skills: If you are looking for ways to upgrade your resume to make yourself more employable, taking a free online security course can do just that. This will allow you to gain a specialized skill without having to spend any money to do so.
- Variety of Program Options: No matter what type of online security course you are interested in, you can likely find a version of it online for free. If you want to step up your online security knowledge for personal or professional use, you can find a variety of free online security courses to help you do just that.
- Comfortable Learning Environment: Another free benefit of taking free security courses online is that you can learn in the comfort of your own home. While many people tend to find an academic setting to be overwhelming or even intimidating, taking a free online security course will allow you to learn wherever you feel most comfortable doing so.
- Avoid Commute: Another reason you should consider a free online security course is because it allows you to avoid lengthy commutes. In the long run, this will not only save you time but money as well.
- More Interaction: While some may be nervous about the lack of physical interaction, an online security course can actually allow you to get greater interaction with your professor. Unlike a typical class setting, a free online security course will allow you to learn at your own pace and ask well thought out questions that the professor will have the time to consider and provide an answer to.
What Kinds of Security Courses Can I Take for Free Online?
There are a variety of free online security courses that can be taken by virtually anyone. Some of the most popular are as follows:
- Homeland Security: If you are seeking free online cyber security courses, you should consider trying homeland security courses online free. Taking free homeland security courses online will not only allow you to become more knowledgeable on homeland security-related topics, but you will also be a much more viable candidate in the professional world. Some courses offered at bioterrorism, domestic preparedness, public health preparedness, disaster recovery, and more.
- Big Data: Another great free online cyber security course involves wiretaps and big data. These free cyber security courses online allow users to learn about topics such as the evolution of users’ rights and privacy concerns, security laws, and contemporary surveillance, types of cryptography used to secure both wired and wireless networks, and more.
- Usable Security: If you are seeking to better understand the role humanity plays in the overall security process, usable security is a great cyber security free online course to try. This course will teach you things such as how to design and build a security system with a human-centric focus, mobile security and privacy on social media networks, and many other related topics and concepts.
- Software Security: For those seeking free online cyber security courses, software security is an excellent option. This course not only allows you to better protect your computers at the workplace but will also better enable you to keep our computers secure at home. This course will teach you topics such as defenses that help you prevent and eliminate attacks, innovative measures of testing and verifying that software is secure, how to spot vulnerabilities and the attacks that can potentially exploit them, and much more.
- Public Privacy: Another excellent cyber security free online course is on public privacy. If you are interested in topics such as the role human rights plays in the debate about cyber security, how we as individuals can do our part, what role the government plays in maintaining cyber security, and more. If you want to learn more about the intersection of international human rights, cyber security, and the internet, this is one of the top free cyber security courses online to consider. Given that the world is now relying more heavily on the internet than ever, courses such as these are ranking highly on the cyber security MOOCs websites.