• Length:
    4 Weeks
  • Effort:
    3–5 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $100 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Advanced
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English
  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time

Prerequisites

None

About this course

Skip About this course

Critical urban infrastructure including energy, transportation, waste management, emergency service and communication systems are being hacked remotely by cyber attackers. These hackers use ransomware to encrypt the data cities need to run; then, they demand that public agencies pay a ransom to get their own data back. The costs associated with cyber attacks are substantial, extending to tens of millions of dollars to recreate data that are lost, and undermine the reputation of city governments across America.

This course will prepare anyone who wants to work with agencies that are worried about their vulnerability to cyberattack. Topics include:
• Who are the attackers and what are their methods?
• What are the “defensive social engineering” moves cities can use to protect themselves?
• What are the minimum security standards that all public agencies need to meet?
• Who should have responsibility for overseeing cybersecurity in a public agency?
• Should cities be willing to pay the ransoms demanded by hackers?
• What should a city do after it has been attacked?
• What are the most important lessons drawn by cities that have already been attacked?

Through a series of explanatory videos (prepared by industry experts), case studies of an actual attack, role play simulations and debriefings, and short assigned readings, you will learn what cities can and should do to reduce their vulnerabilities. The course also includes checklists of various kinds that cybersecurity vulnerability assessors need to ask and answer.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Questions you need to ask to prepare a vulnerability assessment.
  • Ways to interact with public agency staff who might feel it is wrong to reveal evidence of a cyber attack.
  • The rules of confidentiality that apply to studying cybersecurity breaches.
  • The scale, scope and impact of cyber attacks that are already happening.

Meet your instructors

Dr. Lawrence Susskind
MIT Professor and Vice-Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
Jungwoo Chun
Content Developer and Course Assistant
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Gregory Falco
Security Researcher
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daniel Weitzner
Principal Research Scientist
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need to have a background in computer science to be able to assess public agency vulnerabilities to cyber attacks?
No!

Are there inexpensive defensive social engineering moves that public agencies can make to manage their risks of cyber attack?
Yes!

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.