4 Coursera Classes for the InfoSec Professional

July 25, 2012

**Note: **This page has been updated! Go here for the latest update.

If you’ve never heard of Coursera, you should. ”The World’s Best Courses. Online, for Free.”

With 116 courses from 16 world-class universities, there are a lot of interesting classes you can take online for free. The idea behind Coursera is to be taught by world class professors on topics in 16 different areas. I’ve signed up for a few classes, some related to information security while others just look interesting.

For the information security professional, I found 4 core courses I’d recommend, 3 that may be interesting and 1 bonus course to expand your horizon.

As information security professionals, we have all entered the profession with different backgrounds and focus. Where we are today and what knowledge we need is very different than when we were picking classes in school. Even if you have a Computer Science degree, you may not have taken a cryptography course. Developers may not have taken (or remember) networking.

Core Security Courses:

1. Cryptography

This course explains the inner workings of cryptographic primitives and how to correctly use them. Students will learn how to reason about the security of cryptographic constructions and how to apply this knowledge to real-world applications.

2. Cryptography II

This course is a continuation of Crypto I and explains the inner workings of public-key systems and cryptographic protocols. Students will learn how to reason about the security of cryptographic constructions and how to apply this knowledge to real-world applications.

3. Securing Digital Democracy

This course will provide the technical background and public policy foundation that 21st century citizens need to understand the electronic voting debate. You’ll learn how electronic voting and Internet voting technologies work, why they’re being introduced, and what problems they aim to solve. You’ll also learn about the computer- and Internet-security risks these systems face and the serious vulnerabilities that recent research has demonstrated. We’ll cover widely used safeguards, checks, and balances — and why they are often inadequate. Finally, we’ll see how computer technology has the potential to improve election security, if it’s applied intelligently.

4. Information Security and Risk Management in Context

Explore the latest techniques for securing information and its systems, from policies and procedures to technologies and audit. Learn from leading experts who share proven practices in areas such as mobile workforce safety, security metrics, electronic evidence oversight and coping with e-crime and e-discovery. Study the protection of Cloud computing information. Discover how to foster the development of future information security leaders.

3 Interesting Courses for the InfoSec Professional:

1. Introduction to Computer Networks

This course introduces the fundamental problems of computer networking, from sending bits over wires to running distributed applications. For each problem, we explore the design strategies that have proven valuable in practice. Topics include error detection and correction, multiple-access, bandwidth allocation, routing, internetworking, reliability, quality of service, naming, content delivery, and security.

2. Computer Architecture

This course will explore how the computer architect can utilize the increasing number of transistors available to improve the performance of a processor. Focus will be given to architectures that can exploit different forms of parallelism, whether they be implicit or explicit. This course covers architectural techniques such as multi-issue superscalar processors, out-of-order processors, Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) processors, advanced caching, and multiprocessor systems.

3. Internet History, Technology, and Security

After this course you will not take the Internet and Web for granted. You will be better informed about important technological issues currently facing society. You will realize that the Internet and Web are spaces for innovation and you will get a better understanding of how you might fit into that innovation.

Bonus Class:

The point of the bonus class is to show the wide variety of classes on Coursera. While many want to advance their careers, it’s also important to search through the 116 courses for something personally beneficial.

Equine Nutrition

This course will cover many aspects of equine nutrition ranging from anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract to dietary management of horses/ponies affected with nutrition-related disorders.