Network Security Fundamentals 1A: Introduction

Cybersecurity Specialist 
Career Pathway Course Units

Unit 1: Security (and What Threatens It)

Sometimes, it seems like you can’t go a day without hearing news about a data breach, computer intrusion, or some technology that a friend promises will change your life. Technology and connected devices definitely make society and our lives more productive and interesting! And yet, along with the good of every tool comes unintended consequences. Have you ever stopped to think about how all of our connected devices work? Have you ever thought about how much of your personal data has been recorded and where that information is stored? Over the duration of the course, we will dive into all of these issues and, most importantly, discuss how they function. Providing cybersecurity for modern-day networks is a challenge and a critical skill that will form the focus of our study in this course.

Unit 2: Fundamental Concepts of Cybersecurity

Without a solid foundation, a building will not stand for long or withstand significant weather events. Cybersecurity is very similar—without a solid foundation, our cybersecurity fails. A failure of either foundation could lead to a catastrophic event. Solid foundations result in an understanding of fundamental concepts, research, planning, implementation, and review. Throughout this unit, we will examine fundamental cybersecurity concepts and learn about frameworks that help us build the foundation required to secure our networks. We will also examine the federal agencies that help guide frameworks and policies for cybersecurity. This unit will open your mind to other aspects of cybersecurity that you may want to research as you continue through the course.

Unit 3: Building a Network

Now that we have gained some insight into security goals and the terminology used to describe them, we can turn our attention to understanding the infrastructure that powers a business and connects it to the internet. You will come across many new terms and standards in this unit. Returning here as you proceed through the course will help you clarify other terms and concepts that you encounter. And, after studying this unit, don’t be surprised if you feel encouraged to conduct further research into networking components. Networks are complicated things; if they were easy, cybersecurity wouldn’t be a challenge. This unit’s introduction to networking equipment builds the foundation upon which we’ll add security later in the course.

Unit 4: Protocols, Services, & Data Transfer

Everything you have learned so far has set the stage for us to talk about how the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) moves data around a network. At times, this protocol may seem like a complicated maze of protocols, ports, subnets, and services. In this unit, we will introduce firewall rules and troubleshooting commands. We have a full menu of items to get through. Do you remember the OSI model? It will surely remain our guiding light and will be referred to many times in this unit. Don’t feel discouraged if you need to read through the content a few times for it to come together for you. It is difficult material, so the troubleshooting tools, tips, and tricks in this unit are designed to help you gain some hands-on experience with the content. If you love acronyms, this is the unit for you!

Unit 5: Building Our Defenses

We connect our devices to different networks every day, and often, these are wireless networks. Do we take for granted that these networks are secure and confidential? By the end of this unit, you will be able to recognize and identify the type and strength of the security that a network provides. You will be able to recognize various types of network attacks and, hopefully, how to prevent them from ever happening. This unit will also give you an opportunity to walk through a real-life cyber-attack and put you on the front line to provide you with a sense of what network security professionals encounter on a daily basis.

Unit 6: When the Intruders Are at the Door

Networks are under attack every day. Sometimes, defenders know they are under attack, but an attack can also be silent. In this unit, you will see who the key players are in the struggle to keep networks secure and data safe. You will also learn about defensive measures that should be deployed as part of effective security strategy. Along the way, we will discuss the legal environment in which this all plays out as well as the responsibility that comes with being a security professional!

Unit 7: A Closer Look at Malware

In your online experience, you’ve likely seen pop-up advertisements and spam emails or landed on a website that looked questionable to you. Pretty much all homes and organizations have devices connected to their networks, and these represent just a part of the total attack surface. In this unit, we will focus on the systems that you connect to networks as well as the types of malware and viruses that target, infect, and cripple those systems. We will also examine ways to mitigate the overall dangers that malicious software poses to systems. Lastly, we will consider the motivations of those who create malware and look at a few infamous examples from recent history.

Unit 8: Security Design Principles

At this stage, it should be clear that many aspects of network security involve technical expertise, but in addition to the technical skills required to secure your data, there is a set of complementary guiding principles that you will learn to apply. These principles inform the design of an information security plan and will prove instructive to you in the application of all aspects of information security. We will also examine policies that have been published by government agencies with the goal of providing a framework for all organizations to build their own robust information security plans.