Cybersecurity management in the European Union

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Securing information in the digital single market

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Aims and scope: 

Information technology has transformed our world and will continue to do so. As we move more of our lives, business operations, and critical infrastructure, into the digital arena, cyberattacks become more successful and damaging. Cybersecurity is vitally important to the senior leadership of organizations, to such an extent that cybersecurity incidents have already led to CEO resignations.

This course aims to prepare students for security threats in the digital age. It starts by providing an overview of contemporary threats facing individuals, organisations and key infrastructures. Concepts such as the digital DNA, internet of things, data grids, or the cloud, as well as top cybersecurity threats such as physing, ransomware, cyber-physical, or IoT attacks, will be covered in this introduction. Students will also be introduced to the legal and ethical issues of security.

This is followed by a part on information security management, in which students will be introduced to security planning, learning to use various risk frameworks to decide on security protection investments for their organisations. They will also learn to apply risk management concepts to identify, assess and control risk. Students will also be introduced to security technology such as network security, cryptography or physical security. They will learn about security policy implementation models and practices, planning for contingencies, security and personnel, security maintenance, eDiscovery, and protection mechanisms.

Finally, in the third part of the course, students will apply all those concepts to try to develop a comprehensive and forward-looking cybersecurity strategy for the European Union. They will take on the roles of key members of the European security community to discuss current policy and evolving challenges associated with the digital age. Individual research and group discussions will allow them to identify critical European interests under threat from a variety of state and non-state actors. They will consider top-down and bottom-up organisational approaches to developing effective policies aimed to protect European security interests, culminating with an original blueprint and action plan for European cybersecurity over the next decade.

By the end of the course, students will be better prepared for leadership roles in assuring the cybersecurity of their organisation, be it in the private sector or government.


This course will be based on synchronous web conferences and asynchronous online written discussions about highly relevant current issues. You will learn by researching those questions independently, and by receiving and giving peer review. This course will also be carried out entirely in English language, which has additional benefits.

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is an approach for learning content through an additional language (foreign or second), thus learning both the subject and the language simultaneously. This approach to teaching and learning has never featured as strongly on university curricula as it does now. Besides, the great revolution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has had a tremendous impact on education and on the development of foreign language communication skills in particular. ICT is an ideal platform for developing interactive strategies and methodologies that promote independent learning, peer interaction, and language use for real communicative purposes. In a world where students are digital natives and where broadband connections and mobile-data enabled smartphones are widespread, there is great potential for combining CLIL with ICT. If we add to this the opportunities that international university partnerships and networks offer for student interaction across borders, we have all the necessary ingredients for a successful course.

1. Introduction to information security. Current trends and threats. The need for security. Legal, ethical, and professional issues in information security. 2. Planning for security. Governance and strategic planning for security. Information security policy. Developing the security program. 3. Risk Management. Identifying and assessing risk. Controlling risk. 4. Security Technology. Firewalls, VPNs, and wireless. Intrusion detection and prevention systems and other security tools. 5. Security technology. Cryptography. Physical security. 6. Implementing information security. Security management models and practices. Planning for contingencies. Security and personnel. Information security maintenance and eDiscovery. 7. The European Union. The digital single market. Internal security strategy. Common security and defence policy. 8. Cyberspace and national security. Enhancing EU cyber resilience. 9. Security of network and information systems. 10. Planning for contingencies. Blueprint for rapid emergency response. 11. Securing the electoral process. 12. European cybersecurity industrial, technology and research competence centres. 13. Cybersecurity of 5G networks. 14. Cyberdefence.
Indicative reading: 
Whitman, M., and Mattord, H. (2018). Principles of Information Security (6th edition). Cengage Learning. Further reading: Miljus, A., Perkowski, M., and Perlman, A. (eds.) (2018). Navigating the Digital Age: The Definitive Cybersecurity Guide for Directors and Officers. Palo Alto Networks; Whitman, M., and Mattord, H. (2018). Management of Information Security (6th edition). Cengage Learning; Reveron, D.S. (ed.) (2012). Cyberspace and National Security: Threats, Opportunities, and Power in a Virtual World. Georgetown University Press; Schünemann de Wolf, and Baumann, M.O. (eds.) (2018). Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity in Europe. Springer; Calderaro, A., and Pawlak, P. (2021). Cybersecurity Policy and Governance in the European Union. Routledge; Christou, G. (2016). Cybersecurity in the European Union: Resilience and Adaptability in Governance Policy. Palgrave Macmillan.
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