Domain Expertise

Understanding Cybersecurity

Instructor: Rhea Siers

Who Is This Course For?

This course is for anyone who happens to use a computer in their personal or professional lives, which is pretty much everyone. In particular, this course seeks to demystify cybersecurity and provide a clearer understanding of the subject to professionals in any field.

The course covers all sides of the struggle to protect computers, networks, information, and industrial systems from an ever-evolving cyber threat. It looks at the key players, technologies, and issues that shape the cyber landscape and examines a wide range of recent cyber attacks to demonstrate the variety of goals, targets, and methodologies these attacks have.


New Cybersecurity Professionals

This course will give newcomers a solid foundation in the cybersecurity field. Most importantly, the course covers the basics of cyber analysis and provides a rubric for examining any cyber incident and conveying your findings clearly and concisely to your customers.


Analysts in Any Field

Whether you cover economics or international relations or conduct risk analysis for a corporation, cyber security plays a role in your world. This course will allow you to place cyber security into context and to pull out the broader implications of a cyber attack to everything from the threat of interstate conflict to a hacked company’s reputation and earnings.


Managers in Any Organization

If you are at all responsible for the cyber literacy of your workforce, have to review work that contains cyber analysis, or play a role in the security of your unit’s IT systems, this course will give you the foundation you need to do all of that and more.

What You'll Get

Video Content


Course Transcript


What You'll Learn

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Analyze the impact of cybersecurity on the public and private sectors.
  • Recognize different forms for cyber activity.
  • Identify key state and nonstate actors across the globe.
  • Differentiate between cyber threat, vulnerability, and risk.
  • Identify key factors in analyzing cyber activity.
  • Assess the most important issues as cyber technology advances.

Course Content

Course Overview

People, Process, and Technology

The Cyber Lexicon

A Little Cyber History

The Cyber Players

The Attribution Conundrum

Cyberattack Objectives

Who Can Hack Back?

The Basics of Cyber Analysis

Who’s in Charge?


Meet Your Instructor

Rhea Siers

Rhea Siers is a veteran of over 30 years at the National Security Agency (NSA) where she served in senior operational, policy, and legal capacities–including as Deputy Associate Director for Policy. In addition to her experience in government, Rhea has been creating and teaching classes on cybersecurity, cyber threats and strategy, data privacy, transnational security, and intelligence topics for over 15 years at George Washington and Johns Hopkins Universities. She is also an attorney and has practiced cybersecurity and privacy law. Rhea formerly served as a Cyber Security Defense Strategy Executive at Bank of America and is currently the Senior Advisor on cyber issues at Teneo Risk Advisory.

Rhea is passionate about demystifying the cyber realm and encouraging a multi-disciplinary approach to cybersecurity issues. She has run highly successful cyber tabletop exercises in numerous industries and companies. Rhea also served as a Senior Fellow in several think tanks focusing on threat analysis and the training of the next generation of cyber and intelligence analysts. As an attorney, Rhea focused on Cyber Incident Response and Cyber Governance and was named as a “Cyber Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal (2014).

Rhea has written extensively for several publications, including The Cipher Brief and The Wall Street Journal, on a range of cyber issues from attribution and deterrence to cyber warfare issues in the Middle East. She is on the editorial board of The Journal of Law and Cyber Warfare and a co-author of the book Cyber Warfare: Understanding the Law, Policy, and Technology (2015) and The Theory and Practice of Terrorism: Alternative Paths of Inquiry (2017). Rhea has also contributed several chapters to textbooks on cybersecurity and cybercrime.

Rhea received her BA in Political Science from Barnard College, Columbia University, and an MS from the London School of Economics in International Relations/Middle East Affairs. She received her JD as a Dean’s Fellow at the Washington College of Law, American University, and an MIPP from the Elliott School, George Washington University, with a concentration in Transnational Security.

Rhea Siers

Try a sample lecture

A Little Cyber History

This lecture is part of the JTG Proficiency1 course Understanding Cybersecurity by Rhea Siers.