SANS Cyber Aces Online

Fall 2014 Quiz Schedule:

Schedule to be announced Fall 2014

Learn the fundamentals of cybersecurity.

For anyone with an interest in learning more about making online information more secure, this course teaches the core concepts needed to understand, assess, and protect information security systems.

  • Workload: Open course format
  • Cost: Free
  • Next Offering: SANS Cyber Aces Online opens September 1, 2014

About the Course

We live in a networked world. Whether it’s keeping in touch with friends, paying bills, operating a city’s energy grid, or strengthening national security, it happens on line. The need to secure our networks has never been greater. The number of cyber attacks is increasing dramatically and there aren’t enough people with the skills needed to ensure our security online.

This course develops the knowledge and skills needed to master the core concepts in cyber security. Course material is updated regularly to keep pace with changes in technology and threat landscape. Students come away with a solid foundation for building a career in cybersecurity or just strengthening their own home network.

The course covers the three foundation areas of information security.

  • Operating Systems
  • Networking
  • Systems Administration

Course Format

Each module includes a tutorial to build knowledge and skills of the concepts Participants have two options for how to take the course.

  1. With Quizzes - Participants who choose this option will complete a scheduled, on-line, multiple-choice quiz to test their knowledge and mastery of the module's content. Tutorial quizzes will be offered for each module every 3 months.
  2. Without Quizzes – Participants who choose this option review the tutorials to build knowledge and skills, but do not participate in the quizzes. There is no schedule for this option. The course content is open and always available to participants.

Module 1, Operating Systems:
This module introduces the students to computer operating systems, with a strong emphasis on command line usage. The first half focuses on Linux, guiding students through using a CentOS LiveCD in VMware Player and teaching important concepts and commands. The second half focuses on Windows, particularly Windows 7, and covers important topics that all advanced computer users should know.


Module 2, Networking:
A firm understanding of Network fundamentals is essential to being able to secure a network or attack one. This module provides a broad overview of networking, covering the fundamental concepts needed to understand computer attacks and defenses from a network perspective. This module focuses on the various protocols used at each layer, with a particular focus on the Networking layer.


Module 3, System Administration:
This module is intended to provide students with the tools they need to perform common administrative functions in some of the most popular scripting environments. The module will examine PHP and PERL in the context of an Apache webserver, and then it will examine using GNU BASH and Microsoft Powershell scripting from the command line to complete every day administrative functions.

Recommended Background

SANS Cyber Aces Online is designed for everyone who has an interest in learning more about information security and the growing threats from cyber attacks. No special knowledge is required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the course designed for?

SANS Cyber Aces Online is designed to meet a range of participants – including those seeking to strengthen their existing cybersecurity knowledge, self-taught individuals seeking to assess their skill levels, and newcomers seeking to enter the field. Past participants include:

  • High school students
  • High school teachers and administrators
  • College students
  • Military veterans
  • Active military
  • Job seekers
  • Career changers

Do I have to register?

No. SANS Cyber Aces Online is available as open courseware, so registration is not required to access the course content. Registration is only required to participate in the quizzes.

Is there a fee?

No. SANS Cyber Aces Online is free for all participants.

Do I need special computer software or hardware?

Yes. To fully experience the tutorial contents, you will need to install VMware (VMware Player for Windows or Linux hosts, or VMware Fusion for Macs). You'll also need to download two virtual machines to run in VMware: a Linux and a Windows version. This will require at least 30GB of disk space.

Will I receive a certificate upon completion?

Yes, a certificate of completion is awarded to all who complete the course.

What’s next after completing the SANS Cyber Aces online course?

Top performers in the online course quizzes will be invited to attend the National Cybersecurity Career Fair (NCCF), the largest virtual career fair in the cybersecurity industry. The 2014 NCCF featured18 leading employers in the information security industry, including the NSA, the US Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), Citi, JP Morgan Chase, CBS, NBC Universal, Accenture, KPMG, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), Ernst & Young, Juniper Networks, Solutionary, Palantir, Stroz Friedberg, FINRA, Branch Banking & Trust Co., NIPSCO, and STIGroup.

Are there other opportunities to improve and demonstrate my cybersecurity skills?

Those participants who complete the quizzes and attend NCCF also have the opportunity to take the SANS Cyber Talent exam at no cost. This talent assessment tool measures skills and capability across a variety of information security domains. The SANS Cyber Talent exam is a unique opportunity for job seekers to demonstrate their skills to potential employers.

Are there any restrictions on use of the online course?

All participants agree to use the course material for legitimate purposes only, i.e., improve knowledge, skills, and career potential in information security. Online courses shall not be used for inappropriate purposes, e.g., for any unlawful, unethical purposes, to gain unauthorized access to systems, to disrupt or hinder any online operations.