The Best Cyber Security Courses Online for Beginners

Best Cyber Security Courses Online for Beginners

Ready to kickstart your cyber security career but don't know which cyber security courses for beginners are worth your time and money?  

Before choosing a cyber security specialization, gaining a solid understanding of general cyber security principles and practices is essential.

This article will outline the best cyber security courses online for beginners.

We’ll define the field and explain the knowledge you should have before starting your journey. 

Next, we’ll showcase ten courses to help you learn cyber security. We’ve divided them into four sections: what is security, security fundamentals, security in-depth, and applying security principles. 

Let’s begin.

What Is Cyber Security?

Cyber security isn’t a simple, narrow domain; it’s a wide-reaching field within IT.  

At its core, it involves protecting data and systems from threats outside and inside an organization. 

It’s about ensuring that sensitive information is kept confidential, data integrity is maintained, and the availability of systems is not compromised. 

Learning IT and Networking

To succeed in cyber security, you should have a good grasp of basic IT and a solid understanding of networking.

You can learn this in many ways, but there are already certifications available to you in these areas; you can use these certification’s syllabus’ as a roadmap covering what you should learn. 

These include CompTIA A+ for understanding IT and Network+ for networking concepts. And since you’re learning the material already, why not prepare for the exam?

If you obtain these certifications, you can add value to your resume by showing prospective employers you understand what you’re doing.

Using these certifications as a roadmap is not a strict requirement, and you can certainly begin learning cyber security without this background knowledge, but it may make the learning process more difficult. You can also review our article, "Best Networking Courses for Beginners: Top 15 Picks" to get you started on your journey!

Some of the skills you’ll learn from A+ and Network+ include:

  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of hardware and software installation
  • Ability to perform system diagnostics and repairs
  • Understanding network protocols and configurations
  • Troubleshooting common connectivity, performance, and hardware issues in networks
  • Proficiency in implementing security measures such as firewalls

First Things First: The Key to Success

Before diving into the top courses, it's crucial to understand that success in cyber security goes beyond the courses themselves—it requires unwavering commitment.

The challenge most beginners face isn't the complexity of the material but maintaining the motivation to persevere. That's precisely where the StationX Accelerator Program comes into play.

Our program offers more than just education; it's a comprehensive system that ensures you stay on track. With personalized learning paths, unlimited mentorship, and a supportive community, the Accelerator Program is crafted to keep you engaged and motivated.

From mastering the basics to preparing for certifications, we provide all the tools you need to not just start but successfully continue your cyber security journey.

With that in mind, let's look at the best courses for beginners!

Courses: What Is Security?

These first courses help you understand cyber security and why it’s important to implement security measures in various systems and networks.

1. Cyber Security Awareness for Everyone

The Cyber Security Awareness for Everyone course is designed to bolster your defenses. 

This course is a perfect fit for anyone using the internet and those wanting to work with small and medium-sized businesses to employ cyber hygiene in helping them protect from cyber crime and threats.

In this course, you'll gain insights into:

  • Understanding common cyber security definitions
  • Identifying and preventing personal cyber attack attempts
  • Techniques used by hackers 
  • Securing your smartphones and laptops
  • Adopting best practices for cyber security
  • Maintaining safety and privacy on the Internet

Mohamad Mahjoub, a seasoned Cyber Security expert, leads the course. With credentials like CISSP, CISA, and PMP and a rich IT and cyber security background, Mohamad brings a wealth of practical knowledge to the table.

We recommend this course because of its real-world applications, making it engaging and practical. It's designed to be accessible to everyone, with no prerequisites involved.

2. Introduction to Encryption (Cybersecurity)

The Introduction to Encryption course helps you grasp the fundamentals of encryption. 

Protecting sensitive information is more crucial than ever, and this course is a great introduction to this important topic.

Specially designed for beginners, the course breaks down the complex inner workings of encryption into easily understandable concepts.

Here's a glimpse of what you'll learn:

  • The basic principles behind encryption
  • The role of digital signatures in validating the authenticity of your data
  • How digital certificates function in establishing digital identity
  • Extra topics like password-based and two-factor authentication with tools like YubiKey

The course uses entertaining videos starring Alice, Bob, and the hacker Mallory to explain real-world encryption scenarios, and you'll learn to thwart Mallory's attacks against Alice.

With over 18 years of cyber security expertise, instructor Mike Kurtze simplifies even the most challenging encryption ideas into accessible information and teaching methods, and will equip you with the expertise required to navigate the winding paths of data protection.

We highly recommend this fun, engaging course to learn encryption fundamentals while boosting cyber defenses. Mike will equip you with the expertise required to navigate the winding paths of data protection.

Courses: Security Fundamentals

These next courses lay the foundation for a solid understanding of cyber security fundamentals in various areas such as network security, incident response, and policy management.

3. The Ultimate ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) Course

The Ultimate ISC2 Certified in Cybersecurity (CC) Course equips you with the knowledge and skills to ace the ISC2 CC certification exam and confidently apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios.

This course covers foundational cyber security concepts, including:

  • Core principles like confidentiality, integrity, and availability that underpin security systems
  • Incident response concepts such as identification, containment, and mitigation
  • Constructing business continuity and disaster recovery plans
  • Grasping access control policies from authentication to authorization
  • Securing networks through firewalls, VPNs, IDS/IPS
  • Security operations like risk management and compliance with frameworks like HIPAA and GDPR

With over ten years of IT experience, instructor Serkan Demirhan brings invaluable real-world cyber security insights to the course. His expertise simplifies complex topics for beginners.

This course covers all five domains tested on the CC exam through beginner-friendly modules. Here, you'll solidify your learning with chapter quizzes and an expansive 100-page study guide included to prepare you for the exam.

Whether you're gearing up for the CC exam or just starting to look for cyber security jobs, this is the ultimate course to launch your career. With Serkan's guidance and practical, hands-on cyber security training, you'll learn and master critical building blocks.

4. GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)

The GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF) course offers an in-depth exploration of core cyber security concepts to help prepare you for the GISF exam. The course explores topics and concepts listed in the exam objectives and outcome statements.

The course tackles:

  • Mastering authentication, authorization, accountability, and advanced access controls
  • Hardening applications against malware infections and emerging threats
  • The origins and functionality of cryptographic algorithms
  • Fundamentals of networking, like addressing schemes and communication protocols
  • Modern defensive security technologies and strategies to counter sophisticated cyber attacks
  • Crafting watertight security policies aligned with risk management principles
  • Ensuring robust wireless security through both technological and strategic approaches

With over 20 years as an Information Security Consultant and Penetration Tester, instructor Mohamed Atef brings insights into navigating complex cyber security concepts. His certifications cement his authority on current best practices.

We recommend this course for its comprehensive coverage and hands-on training, especially if you want to obtain the GISF certification or simply enhance your cyber security skills.

Courses: Security in Depth

Now that you have the fundamentals down, it’s time to learn security in depth. 

This includes understanding different layers of security and implementing multiple measures to protect against various threats.

5. The Complete Cyber Security Course! Volume 1: Hackers Exposed

The Complete Cyber Security Course! Volume 1: Hackers Exposed is a comprehensive course to equip you with the skills to keep hackers away, protect your privacy, and help shield you from threats.

In the course, you'll learn:

  • Cyber security concepts from threat modeling to risk analysis
  • The inner workings of the Darknet, hacker psychology, exploit kits, and more
  • Global tracking systems and the far-reaching capabilities of agencies like the NSA
  • Operating system privacy and security on Windows, Linux, and macOS
  • Encryption techniques, use cases, and limitations
  • Defending against phishing, SMShing, vishing, and other social engineering attacks
  • Isolation solutions like sandboxes, virtual machines, and secure operating systems like Whonix and Qubes OS

With 25 years of cyber security industry experience securing top-tier clients, award-winning cyber security educator Nathan House leads the course sharing hard-won insider tips.

Standing out as an all-in-one cyber security resource, 11+ hours of video lessons and a 200+ page eBook make this course an invaluable training for professionals and beginners seeking practical defenses against digital threats.

We recommend this course for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of cyber security, from fundamental concepts to advanced strategies.

6. CompTIA Security+ Certification (SY0-701): The Total Course

CompTIA Security+ Certification (SY0-701): The Total Course is your comprehensive guide to acing the CompTIA Security+ exam.

This course is a must-have for anyone looking to boost their cyber security career, and covers the latest SY0-701 exam objectives launched in November 2023.

Even if you don’t plan on getting the Security+ certification, the knowledge you will gain from this course provides an invaluable, high-level understanding of cyber security.

In the course, you'll learn:

  • Understanding the basics of IT security, including confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA triad)
  • Identifying different types of cyber security threats and vulnerabilities
  • Learning testing infrastructure such as vulnerability assessments and penetration testing
  • Understanding how to develop and manage security policies
  • Cryptographic principles, encryption techniques, public key infrastructure (PKI)
  • Understanding how to implement robust access control policies and procedures

Instructors Mike Meyers, Dan Lachance, and Lyndon Williams bring over 60 years of combined experience. Their expertise ensures you get the knowledge to pass the exam and the practical skills for the field.

This course is ideal for beginners. If you're considering the Security+ 701 exam, it’ll help you prepare by providing a comprehensive overview of the certification exam objectives and key concepts. 

With this course, you're not just preparing for an exam; you're setting the foundation for a thriving career in cyber security. 

Courses: Security Principals Applied

Our final courses will help you apply security principles such as encryption, authentication, and access control to real-world scenarios. These courses will also provide experience with industry standards and techniques for securing networks and systems. 

7. ISO 27001 Foundations Course

The ISO 27001 Foundations Course offers a way to understand complex ISO cyber security standards. This course teaches you the fundamentals of ISO 27001 implementation and is aimed at beginners. 

ISO 27001 is an internationally recognized standard that outlines guidelines for organizations to establish an information security management system. This provides a framework for organizations to manage, maintain, and monitor the protection of their assets. 

This course will teach you:

  • The structure, principles, and purpose behind the ISO 27001 standard
  • Constructing an Information Security Management System (ISMS) as an ISO 27001-aligned project
  • Defining organizational context, leadership roles, and security objectives
  • Risk management assessment, treatment planning, and mitigation
  • Implementing risk treatment plans, operational planning, and managing changes
  • Monitoring, auditing, reviews, addressing weaknesses, and continual improvement

With six modules that include activities, quizzes, and over eight hours of content, this course simplifies ISO 27001 adoption. 

Author of the acclaimed thesis The Impact of Cybersecurity on Competitive Advantage, instructor Dejan Kosutic is an internationally respected ISO security expert. 

His unique approach teaches you practical applications of these standards, linking cyber security to strategic business growth. 

For beginners tackling their first ISO 27001 implementation or those seeking a refresher, this course delivers. With Dejan’s guidance, you’ll not only grasp ISO 27001 but also discover how to transform standards into organizational opportunities.

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8. CompTIA CySA+ (CS0-003) Complete Course

The CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst+ (CySA+) Complete Course teaches you everything you need to excel in cyber threat analysis, vulnerability detection, risk mitigation, and incident response while preparing you to pass the CySA+ exam.

It’s important to emphasize that the knowledge and skills covered in this course provide enormous value even if you do not pursue the CySA+ certification.

Understanding the core cyber security analysis concepts will benefit various defensive roles such as SOC or Security Analyst.

In this course, covering all four domains, you’ll gain knowledge:

  • Understanding various types of security controls and their applications
  • Learning about the importance of sharing threat intelligence
  • Gaining skills in threat classification and understanding different types of threat actors and malware
  • Developing skills in network forensics and using tools like tcpdump and Wireshark for network analysis
  • Exploring endpoint monitoring techniques and tools, as well as analyzing endpoint security data

While some network and computer security foundations help, the course is designed for those with limited technical backgrounds seeking to bridge skill gaps.

Jason Dion, the author and instructor, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. With over 20 years in IT and cyber security, Jason brings insider tips that help unlock certification and career advancement. 

Whether you’re pursuing the CompTIA CySA+ certification or hoping to excel as a cyber security analyst, vulnerability assessor, SOC analyst, or risk mitigation expert, this course is for you. 

9. CIS Critical Security Controls – Introduction

The CIS Critical Security Controls - Introduction course provides an in-depth understanding of the Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls, guiding you through their implementation and application, which are vital for enhancing cyber security in any organization. 

In this course, you’ll learn controls such as:

  • Understanding how to manage and keep track of physical and software assets within an organization
  • Best practices for managing user accounts and access controls
  • Exploring protections for email communications
  • Insights into managing and securing network infrastructure
  • Exploring the role and methodologies of penetration testing in cyber security

The course is taught by Kenneth Underhill, a cyber security specialist renowned for his innovative approach to education and extensive industry experience.

This course is a must for those looking to improve their organization’s defenses or really just anyone looking to get into the field of cyber security. You can rest easy knowing that you’ll learn the what and why of CIS controls.

10. Cyber Threat Intelligence – Basics & Fundamentals

The Cyber Threat Intelligence - Basics & Fundamentals course demystifies the core concepts and models behind Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI), covering its definition, objectives, specialized vocabulary, and key frameworks. 

CTI is a field focused on analyzing and understanding cyber threats. The course provides well-rounded training on CTI from strategic, operational, and tactical perspectives.

You’ll learn the following:

  • Defining CTI, its goals, terminology, and specialized vocabulary
  • Key CTI models like the Cyber Kill Chain, Diamond Model, MITRE ATT&CK, and Pyramid of Pain
  • Conducting threat actor analysis and Darkweb asset monitoring
  • Hunting C2 infrastructure via SSL certificates and JARM fingerprints

Instructor Adrien Le Sech brings a distinctive blend of military and private-sector cyber security expertise to the table. 

Backed by academic credentials like a Master’s in International Relations and certifications including GIAC Cyber Threat Intelligence (GCTI), his well-rounded insights inform both strategic and technical aspects of CTI.

Blending theory with practical use cases, quizzes, and real-world threat reporting, this course suits cyber security beginners and professionals seeking CTI fluency. 

With Adrien’s guidance, you’ll emerge with versatile skills to excel in cyber threat analysis, intelligence gathering, and mitigation.

Conclusion

These are the top ten best cyber security courses online for beginners. With this list of courses, you are well on your way to gaining proficiency in cyber security. You can then focus on obtaining certifications or continuing your learning to pursue your desired career path in the field.

Are you looking for an all-in-one community with access to these courses and more? Join the StationX Accelerator Program and gain access to mentorships, career roadmaps, and mastermind groups, providing both career guidance and the motivation to succeed. 

Join other like-minded individuals passionate about learning and growing in the field of cyber security. Expand your network and collaborate with others from diverse backgrounds.

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  • Richard Dezso

    Richard is a cyber security enthusiast, eJPT, and ICCA who loves discovering new topics and never stops learning. In his home lab, he's always working on sharpening his offensive cyber security skills. He shares helpful advice through easy-to-understand blog posts that offer practical support for everyone. Additionally, Richard is dedicated to raising awareness for mental health. You can find Richard on LinkedIn, or to see his other projects, visit his Linktree.

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