Please enable JavaScript to use CodeHS

Introduction to Cybersecurity (Vigenere)

This course prepares students with crucial skills to be responsible citizens in a digital future. It is designed for beginner computer science students with no specific course prerequisites. Students will learn foundational cybersecurity topics including digital citizenship and cyber hygiene, the basics of cryptography, software security, networking fundamentals, and basic system administration. This is a one year course designed for high school students.


Units: 12
Timeframe: Year
Contact Hours: 140

By the Numbers

Contact Hours 140
Lessons 88
Videos 80
Exercises 51
Challenges 2
Offline Handouts 99


Unit Description
What is Cybersecurity?: Students will be introduced to cybersecurity basics. They will focus on why cybersecurity is important, recent threats to cybersecurity, and different careers in the field.
Digital Citizenship and Cyber Hygiene: Students will explore topics on Internet etiquette and how to stay safe on the world wide web. They will also look at the potential effects of their digital footprints, how to protect information from online risks, and the implications of cyberbullying. Finally, the module includes how to find and cite quality resources online.
Project: Public Service Announcement: For this project, students will create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to teach their peers about digital citizenship and cyber hygiene. They can select any of the topics covered in this unit.
The ABCs of Cryptography: Students will dive into the history of cryptography systems, the motivation behind using encryption systems, and basic cryptography systems. Additionally, students will explore topics on how to use cryptography, cryptology, and cryptanalysis to decode a message without the use of a key. Finally, they will look into more advanced cryptographic topics like public key cryptography and hash functions.
Project: Classic Cipher Newscast: In this project, students will get to create a newscast! This could be pre-recorded or presented live. They will be assigned to teams of 3-4. Each team is expected to write, rehearse, and perform an approximately 5 – 10 minute newscast. Each team will be given a different **classic cipher** (beyond Caesar and Vigenere) to research and address in their newscast.
Software Security: Students will learn what happens when running a web application and how to look inside web apps using developer tools, source code, and more. They will learn basic SQL so they can learn about common attacks like SQLi and XSS, and recommend solutions for flawed security systems.
Networking Fundamentals: Students will explore the structure and design of the internet and networks, and how this design affects the reliability of network communication, the security of data, and personal privacy. They will learn how the Internet connects computers all over the world. Finally, students will explore basic networking protocols, practical networking, and how networks are secured.
Project: Secure the Company's Network: In this project, students will apply their cybersecurity skills to take on employee difficulties and a potential external hacking at a company. The company's CTO suspects that there are some hackers who are trying to circumvent the network to gain access to key systems and data, and that employees are wasting company resources on the internet.
Final Course Project: In this final course project, students will have the option of selecting one of two of the pathways: create a presentation and flyer about a career in Cybersecurity or tips for online safety. Each will require research outside what has been provided in this course.
Final Exam: Students are assessed on topics learned throughout the course.


Click on a demo to test it out.

Phishing Simulator

Password Hacking: Brute Force

Improving Vigenere Cipher


Here are a few examples of teacher resources and materials to use in the Introduction to Cybersecurity (Vigenere) course

Format of Course

The entirely web-based curriculum is made up of a series of learning modules that cover the fundamentals of cybersecurity. Each module is made up of short video tutorials, quizzes, real world connections, simulations, open response reflections, challenge problems, and unit tests. The course is designed for a year long class that meets 5 days per week, though schools implement it in a variety of ways.

Who is it for?

The Introduction to Cybersecurity course is designed for complete beginners with no previous background in computer science. The course is highly visual, dynamic, and interactive. There are no prerequisites for this course, and the course is recommended for students in Grades 9-10.


Interested in teaching the Introduction to Cybersecurity course with CodeHS? Get in touch, so we can help you bring CodeHS to your school!

Bring to My School

Professional Development

Teaching Fundamentals of Cybersecurity

The CodeHS Cybersecurity course prepares students with crucial skills to be responsible citizens in a digital future and protect themselves from the growing threat of cyber attacks. With the CodeHS online Professional Development course, we'll train teachers at your school to teach an excellent Cybersecurity course. No programming experience is required. Teachers will gain the skills, pedagogical knowledge, resources, and confidence to lead a great cybersecurity class with CodeHS.

View Units
CodeHS PD Options