Cybersecurity and you: Upgrade your skills with free courses

Hands on laptop with overlay binary code and bright lock symbol (© Shutterstock)
One way to keep your computer and data safe is to download apps from trusted sources, such as official app stores. (© Shutterstock)

Want to protect yourself and your business like a Fortune 500 company?

Now you can.

Some of the biggest international companies offer free cybersecurity training to the public. People at every skill level have access to an array of courses, including:

“Every business regardless of size, and every community” is affected by cyber threats, President Biden said in October. “Both the public and private sectors have a role to play in strengthening cybersecurity.”

Some of these freely available training programs stem from a collaboration between the White House and businesses, started in August, to develop a “whole-of-nation effort needed to address cybersecurity threats.”

Man checking phone on train car seen from outside (© Esteban Felix/AP Images)
Users of public Wi-Fi often don’t realize they put their phone and data at risk. (© Esteban Felix/AP Images)

What you need to know

The basic cyber trainings and free government tools include tips for users and businesses on how to:

  • Recognize phishing and social engineering attacks (don’t trust emails or click links from people you don’t know).
  • Ensure that employees use only approved software on company devices.
  • Understand data privacy and limit what is shared online to prevent personal information being used against you.

These tools can help people protect themselves online and protect their smartphones from cyber threats.

The White House private sector meeting also led to billions of dollars in commitments from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple to invest in efforts to reduce cyber risk.

Why it’s an international effort

Beyond providing tools for businesses to protect themselves, in October, the White House brought together more than 30 countries to build international cooperation to fight ransomware in cases where hackers hold a company’s data hostage.

This effort to target criminals, bolster resilience, target payment systems and build international cooperation to work across borders is already paying off. In October, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with the government of Poland, arrested a cybercriminal responsible for infecting approximately 175,000 computers with malware.

The Justice Department also announced that it had seized $6.1 million in illicit funds from a Russia-based hacker.

“We all must play a role in improving our cyber defenses,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said November 8 announcing the arrest and seizure. “Being vigilant and investing resources in cybersecurity should be a high profile priority for all of us.”