Frequently asked questions

Table of contents

MOOC?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are as the name says they open, free, and online. You do not have to care about course fees, not on this MOOC anyway. You do not have to care about commute as you can do it where you are as long as you have Internet connectivity. You do not have to care about schedules, well you have a start and end dates but between them it is upto you when you do the tasks.

Is the course series free?

Yes.

How many students can attend?

There is no limit how many students can take part.

How many hours of work should I be prepared to put in?

This will vary from person to person. But students should expect to spend 2-10 hours per week on the course.

Are there any prerequisites for registering?

No, there are no formal requirements. But a basic understanding of coding, networks, and cyber security are needed to follow some of the course material. You are of course welcome to register without this background knowledge, but you’ll need to put in extra time learning these things if you want to complete all parts of the course.

I want to learn more about cyber security, but I’m not looking to become a cyber security specialist. Will parts of the course still be useful for me?

Yes! Thanks to digitalization, cyber security is an issue that cuts across different industries and professions, so the knowledge and skills people learn in the course can be applied in a wide variety of careers.

What’s a good language to learn if I don’t have any coding experience?

The course does not require knowledge of one specific language. The materials use Java for examples, but students are free to use whatever language they want to complete assignments. Generally, Java and Python are both easy for beginners to learn, and fairly common. On the other hand, C/C++ can teach you more about how computers actually work, which can be useful for certain types of programming. So if you’re learning from scratch, you should consider what kind of work you want to do after the course ends. You can check out this handy infographic for some insight into what different languages are used for by professionals.

Can I earn credits toward university degrees?

Students at Finnish universities can receive up to 10 ECTS credits if they complete all parts of the course. These credits can be transferred to schools outside of Finland (students have done so in the past), but this requires a little bit of additional paperwork and approval by the recipient school.

What kind of topics does the MOOC cover?

The MOOC addresses a range of topics that people need to know about to work in cyber security. These topics include: introductions to cyber security and operational security, web software development, types of vulnerabilities that are typical to web software, how such vulnerabilities are discovered and then mitigated, advanced topics such as secure software architectures and cryptography.

What do I learn on this course?

As in any MOOC, we acknowledged that learner autonomy is a major factor. Students effectively learn what they wish to learn, as they typically are not bound to the course through any official mechanism. The course consists of six parts described below:

  • Introduction (1 ECTS): Introduces the participant to the relevant issues in cyber security. These issues include the stakeholders' and users' ability to disrupt the functionality of a system; corporate responsibilities and liabilities; and the never-ending software crisis that is related to the increasing amount of software and maintenance.
  • Securing Software (3 ECTS): Focuses on security issues related to interconnected software. The participant will learn the principles of developing web applications, typical security issues that are related to such applications, and how such issues are discovered and mitigated.
  • Course Project I (1 ECTS): Participants will construct software with security flaws, point out the flaws in the project, and provide the steps to fix them.
  • Advanced Topics (3 ECTS): Focuses on security in networks, including internet security issues, issues in 4G networks as well as the issues and remedies planned for the upcoming 5G network. This includes also relevant cryptography topics. Architectural analysis of existing (software) systems will be also visited, and selected methods for log mining for the purposes of identifying and tackling attacks will be studied.
  • Course Project II (1 ECTS): Participants will install an operating system with a variety of vulnerabilities and then install a network intrusion prevention system into it. Subsequently, the participants will familiarize themselves with penetration testing software, and attack the system they installed.
  • Capture The Flag (1 ECTS): A Capture the Flag (CTF) competition will be organized at the end of the course series. In the competition, participants will be given a variety of tasks that are related to the topics of the course series. Participants will gain points for every solved task. The amount of points depends on the complexity of the task as well as the amount of time that the spent on the task.

Grading?

The grading is passed or not. We will provide an option to see your grading once it's ready.

Why isn’t the course graded yet?

We have a lot of students and grading takes time. Please be patient! To make things easier and faster use your real name, email, and student number when registering to TMC.

What kind of assignments does the course include?

Readings, essays, quizzes, and puzzles are used in different modules. Some modules include projects and programming assignments for students to work on. There will also be a competition where students find and fix vulnerabilities within an allotted amount of time.

What does it take to get passed?

It depends on the course part. The criteria can be like the following: "In order to pass the course one had to pass both of the essays and 2/3 of the reviews. Some essays were rejected for being too short, for not containing deep enough discussion or for being flagged too many times as spam during the peer review."

How do I show someone I have passed a course part?

You get an online certificate (you can print it if you like).

Where do I get the certificate?

Certificates will be available later.

How do I get the ECTS?

We are working in cooperation with the Open University of Helsinki (OUH). Once you complete a course an email is sent to your MOOC.fi account email address with detailed instructions.

How soon should I ask the registration of the ECTS to WebOodi?

As soon as you receive the registration instructions. The registration closes 6 weeks after each course end date. After that we will not register them. You will still get the certificate.

Can I get the ECTS registered in my home university if I do not study in Finland?

It is possible and it has been done. Sometimes extra paper work is needed. It really depends on the University in question. We suggest discussing with your local study counselor beforehand.

Can I get an extension to the deadlines or can I get some extra work to make up the lack of doing the tasks on time?

This pops up regularly and the answer is no. No extensions, No extra work.

Is it possible for me to catch up if I join the course after it begins or miss part of it?

Yes. The course consists of different modules, and they can be taken independently. So if you miss one module or don’t finish it for some reason, you can still take the others. But do remember that If you study at University of Helsinki CS department and need the TKT20009 or CSM13204 course you need to complete the modules within a year otherwise the modules are not accepted as parts of that course (but you still get to keep the ECTS).

Is there going to be a CTF again?

Yes. There will be a CTF with new puzzles.

The point visualization doesn't work correctly

The point visualization is still under development. It currently works in the introductory course, but not in others. So not seeing your points doesn't mean they haven't been stored!

Encountering 'Cannot run program "cmd"' when doing programming exercises

The issue is probably due to an error with very recent Java 8 JDK versions. See the Installation guide for specifics and solutions.

Merging the course completions into study modules in WebOodi

You can merge your completions into two study modules in WebOodi after completing the courses. The modules are as follows:

First module:

  • Introduction to Cyber Security (1 op)
  • Securing Software (3 op)
  • Course Project I (1 op)

Second module:

  • Advanced Topics (3 op)
  • Course Project II (1 op)
  • Capture The Flag (1 op)

Instructions for merging the completions can be found here: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/open-university/studying/during-your-studies/certificate-of-studies#section-11827