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 provides 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, and 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

The SANS Foundations syllabus is expertly curated so you can master the fundamentals and start your cybersecurity career.

Students will be taken through 12 modules, across a range of topics, including:

  • 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

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.

SANS instructors developed SANS Foundations so you can 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.

Course FAQ's

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.

Syllabus (38 CPEs)

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  • Overview

    The course starts with an introduction to the course and learning platform, but quickly dives into computer components and concepts, including hardware, data storage & representation, logic & data manipulation, and cloud computing.

    Next, learn all about operating systems, virtualization, and containers. Understanding the lower levels of your operating system will help when it comes to troubleshooting, advanced configuration, and cybersecurity fundamentals.

    Linux is a modular and powerful platform from which to chain together tools for complex tasks. Build your knowledge of Linux and the concepts that help secure it. This section is rich in labs covering commands such as grep, cp, apropos, and many more.

    • Debugging Challenge
    • Linux Architecture and Components
    • Linux Commands
    • Linux Navigation
    • The Linux Environment
    • Intro to Computer Hardware
    • Data Storage and Representation
    • Logic and Data Manipulation
    • Storing Data and Files
    • Cloud Computing
    • CPU and Memory
    • Monitoring and Execution
    • Advanced Storage
    • Operating Systems
    • Virtualization
    • Containers
    • Introduction to Linux
    • The Linux Environment
    • Linux Navigation
    • Linux Commands
      • Basics
      • Remote Access
      • Building Software
      • Troubleshooting
    • Linux Architecture & Components
  • Overview

    This section provides a look into how search engines work and the most efficient ways to use them. You will be able to search Google with style and efficiency; perform advanced searches using keywords to narrow results by filetype; and troubleshoot basic computer problems using Google and other search engines.

    Web applications and websites represent a huge volume of modern business and consumer applications. Understand what happens when you visit a web page by learning about concepts such as web servers, HTTP, JavaScript, cookies, and more.

    In this section, we cover the inner workings of a network in order to understand how computers communicate with each other, and for what reasons. Learn about networking concepts such as IP addresses, packets, protocols, and more.

    • Search Superpowers
    • WWW and Serving
    • Networking
    • Types of Networks
    • Protocols
    • Email networking
    • DNS
    • IP addresses
    • Search Superpowers
    • WWW and Serving
    • Networking
    • Types of Networks
      • Protocols
      • Email networking
      • DNS
      • IP addresses
  • Overview

    Servers are a crucial part of any network and a key location where lots of data is held, making them a tempting target for attackers. We take a look at some common server types, including web, DNS, log, and email, their basic setup, and installation procedures.

    We start this section with a basic introduction of what a computer program is, how it works, and different types of programming languages. We cover programming in Python and C, writing basic programs and introduce various strategies, tools, and conventions. The concepts taught in this section are invaluable in understanding how mistakes made during development can lead to security issues.

    • Git Hands On
    • Printing in Python
    • Variables in Python
    • String Manipulation Practice
    • Manipulating Numbers
    • Type Conversion
    • Dictionary Practice
    • Bringing It Together
    • For Loops
    • User Input Prompts
    • CLI User Input Lab
    • Conditionals
    • Class and Objects Lab
    • While Loops
    • Exceptions Lab
    • Functions
    • Reading and Writing Files
    • Create a Portscanner
    • Printing
    • String Handling
    • Variables
    • Comments
    • Pointers and Memory
    • Introduction to Servers
    • Web Servers
    • Database Servers
    • DNS Servers
    • Log Servers
    • Email Servers
    • Programming
      • Python
      • Conditionals, loops, functions, user input, and objects
      • PEP 8 style guide
      • C
      • Pointers
  • Overview

    This section provides an introductory understanding of a wide variety of security concepts, terminology, and tools. Familiarize yourself with common security terminology, including Red Team vs. Blue Team, Critical Security Controls, and the stages of an attack. Learn to recognize tools like Slingshot, SIFT, and Kali. Dive deeper into concepts across disciplines including digital forensics, offensive security, and risk management.

    • Symmetric Encryption Challenge
    • Asymmetric Encryption Challenge
    • Hashing Challenge
    • Break Me Challenge
    • Steganography Challenge
    • Exfiltration Challenge Lab
    • Buffer Overflows
    • Format String Lab
    • Privilege Escalation Lab
    • Encryption
    • Security
    • Security Distributions
    • Reconnaissance
    • Forensics
    • Exploitation
    • Privilege Escalation
    • Persistence
    • Lateral Movement
    • Exfiltration

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. Everything is done online. 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, SANS Chief Technology Officer


“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
“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
"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

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