What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity generally refers to the overall field of components and methods that secure technology from different types of risks. Some people may use other terms interchangeably with cybersecurity (also written as cyber security), including computer security, information technology security (or IT security), or cyber protection. While these terms overlap with cybersecurity, they do not represent the overall field of cybersecurity.

How would one define cybersecurity, in regards to what the field encompasses? There are several primary components within cybersecurity: the technology itself, types of risks, tools for mitigating the risks as well as practices or strategies. These do not represent all major components but they do make it easier to understand the overall field. Because the use of technology continuously increases, it is vital for organizations to be able to protect their technology and information effectively.

The technologies that cybersecurity covers include physical technologies, such as computer components, networks, and data or information technology (IT). IT is one of the primary focus areas of cybersecurity, or IT security, because thousands of businesses and the government collect countless amounts of data on civilians, business operations, and nearly everything else. A breach of IT could lead to a company's exclusive strategy or recipe being duplicated, or even to a major security threat to a government.

Cybersecurity also includes the types of risks that exist, such as viruses, phishing, and malware. The tools and methods that are used to assess and mitigate risk are a part of cybersecurity as well. They include best practices and are regularly being improved upon as technology evolves. Whether someone is working as an IT specialist at a technology company or as a high school teacher, having a basic understanding of cybersecurity and its associated best practices can help them to be a greater asset in the workplace, as well as conduct safer technological activities in their personal life.

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Cybersecurity Resources

The world is increasingly using more and more technology, and the need for individuals who are proficient in technology (and cybersecurity) continues to grow. Cybersecurity learning is a broad field, as it includes cybersecurity law, cybersecurity best practices, cybersecurity information, and a myriad of other topics that help with understanding computer security. Whether you are interested in improving your computer security knowledge to use immediately in your career or are planning to pursue a related degree at a university, there are multiple resources on this page that can give you that comprehension.

The courses available on this page are extremely flexible, making them accessible to students, managers, and other professionals alike. Many of the courses can be used for transfer credits if you decide to pursue a degree or academic certificate at a college or university. Transferring credits can save valuable time and money, as taking those courses at a university will typically be much more costly. In addition to transferrable courses, Study.com offers classes that are designed for professional development. These courses lead to a certificate of completion rather than transfer credits so that the student can verify and articulate their improved understanding of cybersecurity and related topics.

Cybersecurity Courses

Study.com offers a variety of introduction to computer security courses, from broad reviews of the field to more focused explorations of specific areas. These cybersecurity courses offer self-paced learning structures, through which you are able to spend as much time on each topic as desired. Most lessons are short and interesting videos that last less than ten minutes and are complemented by interactive activities and assessments. Improve your understanding of computer security and the various cybersecurity fundamentals through one of the flexible and fun courses below.

Computer Science 110: Introduction to Cybersecurity

Eligible for 3 transferrable credit hours, this course explores the key practices and policies associated with cybersecurity. Topics covered include understanding computer security, cybersecurity fundamentals, and other topics related to cybersecurity.

Computer Science 202: Network and System Security

This course introduces students to IT security and can be transferred for 3 credits. Students explore security risks, strategies for mitigating risks (cybersecurity best practices), systems security, VPNs (virtual private networks), and more.

Computer Science 203: Defensive Security

The Defensive Security course is transferrable and dives deep into cyber threat definitions, types, and cybersecurity best practices. Understanding computer security is strengthened by having a more comprehensive awareness of defensive cybersecurity content.

Computer Science 321: Ethical Hacking

This class takes students through the basics of hacking in order to strengthen their understanding of computer security. Eligible for transfer credits, the course explores ethical considerations, fingerprinting, system vulnerabilities, and more.

Computer Science 330: Critical Infrastructure Security

In this transferrable course, students explore key components of computer security as they relate to network infrastructure. System security, data security, network protocols, risk assessments, and other systems security topics are reviewed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the three basics of IT security?

    The three main components of IT security, or information technology security, are processes, people, and technology. IT security in this context is representative of the field of cybersecurity. The three pillars reflect the processes or methods that are used to assess and mitigate technological risks, while the people and technology pillars represent the individuals/groups involved as well as the actual tools that are used (computers, software, etc.).

  • What is an example of computer security?

    There is a multitude of types of computer security, including those that affect actual computers as well as those affecting smartphones and even cloud storage. One example is the programs and methods that an organization uses to protect the data and content that are stored in its cloud storage. As an example, Google must ensure it has up-to-date technology and practices in place to prevent a breach of its data.

  • What do cybersecurity professionals do?

    The tasks of cybersecurity professionals depend on their specific position and where they work. Entry-level positions include cybersecurity specialists, whose tasks can include auditing, malware programming, and risk assessment. Positions such as cybersecurity consultants may include surveillance, network security analysis, and developing software. Advanced positions in cyber security can include tasks such as project management, software development, authentication, and overseeing risk management.

  • What exactly is cybersecurity?

    Cybersecurity is a broad field that encompasses various technologies, methods, tools, and strategies that are interconnected. More specifically, cybersecurity generally refers to the efforts of decreasing vulnerability and risks of technology. Cybersecurity includes the technologies that could be at risk, including computers, phones, and data, as well as the tools and strategies that organizations utilize in an effort to decrease the risk associated with them.