Introduction to Cybersecurity

  10-12 graders

  Credits awarded on transcript  

  Algebra I completed with B- or better

  UC A-G approval pending

  90 minutes per class

  8-10 students per class

  Twice per week over 36 weeks

  1249 per student, per semester  

  Self paced instructor-guided  

  Online community

  Office hours on-demand

  879 per student, per semester  

We live in a world where everything from simple facts to the most dynamic and valuable financial assets are just bits and bytes represented in a computer. Changing, falsifying, or simply intercepting such information can be more devastating to individuals, societies, and even nations than physical attacks and wars of the past. The more we democratize access to information for our convenience, the more potential vulnerabilities we expose ourselves to. This can come in the form of phishing attacks to get access to our bank accounts or social engineering to infiltrate highly secure government and corporate networks. It is an imperative that our future generations are aware of how security works in today’s globally interconnected world.

This course introduces students to the foundational concepts, principles, and tools of cybersecurity. Students will learn what it means to establish trust in electronic communications between two or more parties, how data is secured during transit and at rest, how we secure entire systems, and the inherent risks of ubiquitous connectivity. They will employ adversarial thinking to analyze threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks, and learn tools used for data encryption in network communications.

Students will also appreciate the implications of ethics and judgement through study of historical events in the context of contemporary laws and policies governing the use and treatment of data.

The curriculum is based on the High School Cybersecurity Curriculum Guidelines that covers the broad, encompassing areas of importance to cybersecurity.

In order to maximize our time together during the live sessions, we use a flipped classroom model that includes pre-work for every class. This allows students to program with the support of an instructor during the class. The pre-work includes pre-recorded videos, online reading, and some programming practice.

  University of California A-G approval expected in Feb'22.

Course Outline

(show details)
  1. What is cybersecurity?
  2. Risk, Adversity, and Trust
  3. The basic building blocks of cybersecurity
  4. Data, Software, Hardware, and Network Security
  5. Countermeasures against cyberattacks
  6. Economics of cybersecurity
  7. Threats, vulnerabilities, and attacks
  8. Sovereignty of states and cybersecurity

Our technology requirements are similar to that of most Online classes.

A desktop or laptop computer running Windows (PC), Mac OS (Mac), or Chrome OS (Chromebook).
Students must be able to run a Zoom Client.
A working microphone, speaker, and webcam.
A high-speed internet connection with at least 10mbps download speed (check your Internet speed).

Students must have a quiet place to study and participate in the class for the duration of the class. Some students may prefer a headset to isolate any background noise and help them focus in class.

Most course lectures and content may be viewed on mobile devices but programming assignments and certain quizzes require a desktop or laptop computer.

This course includes several timed tests where you will be asked to complete a given number of questions within a 1-3 hour time limit. These tests are designed to keep you competitively prepared but you can take them as often as you like. We do not proctor these exams, neither do we require that you install special lockdown browser.

In today's environment, when students have access to multiple devices, most attempts to avoid cheating in online exams are symbolic. Our exams are meant to encourage you to learn and push yourself using an honor system.

We do assign a grade at the end of the year based on a number of criteria which includes class participation, completion of assignments, and performance in the tests. We do not reveal the exact formula to minimize students' incentive to optimize for a higher grade.

We believe that your grade in the course should reflect how well you have learnt the skills, and a couple of timed-tests, while traditional, aren't the best way to evaluate your learning.