SEC275: Foundations: Computers, Technology, & Security

GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT)
GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT)
  • Online
38 CPEs

SANS Foundations is the most comprehensive, certified introductory cybersecurity course on the market. Developed by leading subject matter experts, SEC275 builds fundamental cybersecurity knowledge and skills, giving students with no prior technical or industry experience a level of proficiency that allows them to speak the same language as professionals. Learn foundational computer and security concepts, and develop programming skills, in an interactive learning environment, supported by world-renowned instructors, video lectures, hands-on labs and exercises. SANS Foundations transforms learning into real-world, practical skills, going far beyond what all other foundational cybersecurity courses offer.

What You Will Learn

Master the fundamentals of cybersecurity.

SANS Foundations is the most comprehensive, certified introductory cybersecurity course on the market. It supports your early steps into the industry by enabling you to master the fundamental knowledge and demonstrate the practical skills you need to prove you are ready for that first job in cybersecurity.

SANS instructors developed SANS Foundations to help you learn in a way that works best for you. Our engaging, high-definition video lectures are supported by audio recordings, hands-on labs and exercises, ensuring every student graduates with real-world, practical skills.

The course covers the foundations of cybersecurity in 12 modules, they are:

  • Computer Components and Concepts
  • Linux
  • The Web
  • Networking Fundamentals
  • Servers and Services
  • Practical Programming and Concepts
  • SQL
  • Windows Foundations
  • Advanced Computer Hardware
  • Security Concepts
  • Offensive Security Concepts
  • Network and Computer Infiltration

Upon completion, you will be able to demonstrate programming skills in Python and C, understand the fundamentals of networking, encryption, and Linux, and you will have covered all the core elements of Operating systems, the Web and Security concepts.

"The security labs were my personal favorite as the skills attained through those helped me land a role as a vulnerability analyst in the information security office!" - Kirti Nangia, SANS Foundations Student

Course FAQs

Q: How do I know if this course is right for me?

A: SANS created the Foundations course for students who are new to cyber and looking to take their first step into a technical, cybersecurity career. It is also ideal for IT professionals looking to change their focus to cybersecurity or those who have been working in cybersecurity for a while and would like to refresh their foundational knowledge.

Q: How long does it take to complete the course?

A: The course content can be completed in 50 to 60 hours. To maximize learning outcomes, most students review course content multiple times, repeat labs and quizzes, or do extra exercises.

Q: How long do students have access to the course?

A: Students have access to the course for 4 months, providing plenty of time to go over the material.

Q: How do the labs work?

A: The learning platform for SANS Foundations has an online labs system where students can interact with security tools, get their hands on the Linux command line, and use an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to write and test code.

Q: What do the quizzes test?

A: The quizzes benchmark a student's knowledge and measure if they understand each module's key concepts and topics. Quizzes are based on course content and can be taken multiple times.

Q: Are there books for this course?

A: All reading materials are electronic and available online. When a student takes the GFACT exam, they'll be provided with a book to aid their learning.

Q: Do students have to take the GIAC SANS Foundations final exam?

A: We strongly advise that all students take the GFACT exam to fully master the SANS Foundations course.

Business Takeaways

SANS Foundations helps Businesses, Government and Federal organizations recruit, train and re-skill cybersecurity professionals across the globe.

  • Reduce the risk of foundational, cybersecurity knowledge gaps within your organization
  • Reduce costs of hiring externally by discovering latent talent within your current IT team
  • Improve new-starter success on advanced courses by covering the foundations first
  • Enable business growth through training all technical employees to the highest standard
  • Validate your training investment with your employees passing the GFACT certification
  • Design effective onboarding frameworks for your employees knowing the foundations of cybersecurity are covered.

Skills Learned

  • Understand key hardware components and associated memory concepts
  • Understand the uses of virtualization and containers, with their advantages, and disadvantages.
  • Be familiar with common exploit anatomy, methodology, and the tools used by attackers
  • Be familiar with tools used in forensics investigations and their function.
  • Have a working knowledge of most used Linux commands, permissions, and access control
  • Understand core networking concepts, protocols, different server types and their uses.
  • Be able to determine the result of basic logical operation.
  • Be familiar with programming syntax, constructs, and errors in popular languages.
  • Recognise different file systems, web technology, and cloud computing models.
  • Be comfortable with the concepts and terminology associated with cryptography
  • Be familiar with the ethical and legal concerns associated with hacking
  • Know the stages of an attack and be familiar with key defensive strategies and concepts.
  • Be familiar with key Windows CLI commands, permissions and access control.

Hands-On Cybersecurity Foundations Training

To help build on your newfound knowledge, you will practice using the Linux command line, writing computer programs in C and Python, and running common exploits in dozens of hands-on labs and exercises included in the course.

The labs draw on the latest technology, techniques, and concepts in cybersecurity, bringing your knowledge to life in a practical, technical environment, giving you real-world skills that prepare you for the first day of your new cybersecurity career.

'The hands-on labs allowed me to apply theoretical knowledge and improve problem-solving skills. The course stressed the importance of analytical thinking and effective response to security incidents, guiding my approach in real-world scenarios.' - Louise, IT Officer at Insurance Commission

What You Will Receive

Everything is provided in the online learning platform, and no additional software is required to participate in the course. Everything is done online. You can also change between devices and pick up where you left off at any time.

When taking the GFACT exam, students will receive a book to aid their learning.

What Comes Next?

Depending on your current role or career goals, one of these courses is a great next step in your cybersecurity journey

SEC275 and the GFACT certification constitute the initial course for these career-launching programs at the SANS Technology Institute:

Syllabus (38 CPEs)

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  • Overview

    The syllabus is expertly curated to progressively take students from no technical, or security knowledge, to a level where they are speaking the same language as industry professionals.



    Learning the Foundations - introduction to the SANS Foundations course and training platform, including how to use the product.

    Computer Components and Concepts

    This module focuses on the different components of a computer, what they do, and how they work together. It looks at Computer Hardware, Data Storage & Representation, Logic & Data Manipulation, Storing Data & Files, Cloud Computing, Operating Systems and Virtualization.


    This module introduces students to Linux, the Linux Environment, Linux Navigation, Commands, and Linux Architecture and Components. These subjects help students develop a working knowledge and understanding of installing Linux, navigation and structure, permissions, and commands such as grep, cp, and much more. This module is rich in labs to helps students practice their skills.

    The Web

    This module provides a look into how search engines work, and the most efficient ways to use them, as well as introducing web servers, HTML and cookies.

    Networking Fundamentals

    This module helps students understand core networking concepts and protocols including networking components and hardware, packets, types of network addresses, TCP and UDP protocols, subnetting, and email.

    Servers and Services

    This module helps students understand the different server types by introducing web, database, DNS (Domain Name System), Log, and Email servers; looking at their basic setup and installation procedures. The module covers basic hardening and configuration and concludes with a deep dive into Cloud Computing.

    Practical Programming and Concepts

    The module is a student's first look at programming in Python and C. The sections incrementally teach what a program is and how it works, before delving into writing basic programming, and introducing various strategies, tools, and conventions. These sections are lab-heavy, including labs such as variables in python, user input in python, reading and writing files, using TCP sockets, printing in C, string handling, and more!


    This module teaches students about basic statements, joins, operators and database admins. Learning the fundamentals of SQL will help prepare students for more Offensive Security Concepts work later in the course.

    Windows Foundations

    The Windows Foundations module helps students get familiar with key Windows CLI commands, understanding permissions and access control, and elements of Windows as it relates to file systems, architecture, and networking. This module also looks at Windows uses, installation, network setup, configuration, changing settings, log files, the registry, file permissions, user accounts, Windows command line, scripting, and Powershell.

    Advanced Computer Hardware

    The Advanced Computer Hardware module looks at how the CPU and RAM work in depth (e.g., Memory: Stack and Heap). It introduces, and looks at GDB in practice, along with how to track execution, with advanced storage mechanisms such as RAID and cloud storage mechanisms. The module also covers an introduction into Assembly, and it explores mnemonics.

    Security Concepts

    This module introduces students to the concepts and terminology associated with cryptography, whilst becoming familiar with the ethical and legal concerns associated with hacking. They cover a variety of topics and tools such as encryption, encoding, hashing, the law, ethics, red teams vs. blue team, risk management, critical security controls, Kali Linux, Slingshot and SIFT, reconnaissance tools and techniques, and the basics of digital forensics (e.g., steganography, memory captures).

    Offensive Security Concepts

    This module introduces students to offensive security concepts and exploitation techniques, such as command injection, SQL injection, session guessing, directory traversal, clickjacking, buffer overflows, phishing, Metasploit, social engineering, privilege escalation, kernel exploits, bypassing UAC, stored credentials, and more!

    Network and Computer Infiltration

    This module covers topics and methods for persistence, lateral movement, and exfiltration. Students learn about indicators of compromise, ports, Yara, Rootkits, ARP Cache, extracting passwords from memory, spotting common exfiltration methods, and more.

    Course Summary

    The summary refreshes the memory as it reviews all the course material and prepares the student for the final GFACT (GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies) exam.

GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies

The GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT) certification validates a practitioner's knowledge of essential foundational cybersecurity concepts. GFACT-certified professionals are familiar with practical skills in computers, technology, and security fundamentals that are needed to kickstart a career in cybersecurity.

  • Core Computing Components: Hardware and Virtualization, Networking, Operating Systems, Web, Cloud, and Data Storage
  • IT Fundamentals and Concepts: Logic and Programming, Windows, and Linux
  • Security Foundations and Threat Landscape: Concepts, Exploitation and Mitigation, Forensics and Post Exploitation
More Certification Details


  • There are no prerequisites.
  • No prior security knowledge is needed.

Laptop Requirements

You'll need the current version of any modern web browser (like Chrome or Firefox).

Everything is provided in the online learning platform, and no additional software is required to participate in the course, you'll find it all on the platform. You can also change between devices and pick up where you left off at any time.

Author Statement

The cybersecurity landscape is changing rapidly and constantly evolving. There are new threats emerging daily, new attackers using novel techniques, and worryingly, a growing shortage of global talent.

Before running to the exciting worlds of application security, reverse malware engineering or threat hunting, every cybersecurity professional needs to have an excellent grounding in essential computing and technology skills. These will be used every day in your career and serve as a baseline for your development and future career.

SANS Foundations is the most comprehensive, certified introductory cybersecurity course on the market. We wanted to make this course as accessible as possible, to eradicate as many potential hurdles stopping people getting into the field. We've specifically designed the course to require minimal equipment or technology proficiency - you do not need any prior specific education, just a keen interest.

Whether you are still in full-time education, a career changer or on an immersive training program, SANS Foundations will provide you with the core IT and computer knowledge integral to a future career in cybersecurity.

- James Lyne - Chief Technology and Innovation officer, SANS

"Despite having a senior level security role, SANS Foundations was a fantastic way to brush up on important concepts that help me better fulfil my job duties." - Noah Pack, SANS Foundations Student


“The security labs were my personal favorite as the skills attained through those helped me land a role as a vulnerability analyst in the information security office!”
Kirti Nangia
SANS Foundations Student
"Despite having a senior level security role, SANS Foundations was a fantastic way to brush up on important concepts that help me better fulfil my job duties."
Noah Pack
“I found that the SANS Foundation course is the best place to start no matter you have IT background or not. There are loads of examples from beginner to intermediate level.”
Sri Ayu Ningsih

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