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Governance of Cyber Security

Vak 2014-2015

Admission requirements • Students must be enrolled in the CSM Master program • At least 8 students must enrol for the course to take place • A maximum of 30 students can participate, on a first come, first serve basis


‘Contested spaces’, where a state is unable or unwilling to exert its authority, have frequently been defined as threats to international security in the past twenty years. These were often geographical areas synonymous with ‘failed states’, where non-state actors such as terrorist or criminal organisations would seek sanctuary. According to public perception cyber space has now become one of these ‘ungoverned spaces’, out of reach for governments and businesses alike. Cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism have proliferated as a result, and according to some the threat of cyber war looms ahead. This cyber-governance module will look at where responsibility for cyber-security in the public-private-individual triangle is placed and how government institutions have shared, distributed or obtained cyber tasks and duties. Strategies and doctrines will also be covered, and how they combine with traditional state responsibilities such as defence (offensive and defensive) and intelligence (espionage).

In practice, however, internet is not so much ungoverned as subjugated to alternative forms of governance, often by non-state actors. Although relatively little has as yet been written in academia on cyber governance, this module will explore the customary theories from public administration, conflict studies and international relations perspectives.

Cyberspace has important repercussions for conflict studies. Traditional concepts such as sovereignty, power, war, espionage and terrorism could face fundamental changes as global internet connectivity and dependence continues to grow. This module will look at competing views on cyber threats (from a ‘digital pearl harbour’ to cyber-operations in support of conventional military attacks), working through definitions, concepts and policies to sketch some of the possible implications for future inter and intra-state relations.

Learning objectives

After the course the student:
• Has knowledge of and understands the different theories on cyber-governance;
• Understands the implications of cyber-space and the internet for traditional notions such as sovereignty, power, war and conflict, espionage, terrorism and crime;
• Understands and grasps the historical developments in cyber-governance and how key events have led to the current state of affairs;
• Can apply conceptual knowledge of cyber governance theories to specific situations and case-studies (deduction) and translate understanding of cyber-events (empirical observations) into concepts, trends and theories (induction).



Methods of instruction

This course consists of lectures.

Study load

  • total study load 140 hrs., of which: – contact hours: 21 – self-study hours: 119

Method of assessment

  1. Students have to write a short midterm assignment on a particular subject of cyber security governance to show that they understand the implications of cyber-space internet for traditional notions such as sovereignty, power, war and conflict, espionage, terrorism and crime . This short paper counts for 25 % of the final grade.

  2. Students have to write a research paper in which they apply conceptual knowledge of cyber governance theories to specific case-studies (75% of total grade).

  3. When guest lectures are planned, students have to prepare questions for the speakers based on the literature of that week.

The resit takes the same form.


Yes; BB will become available two weeks before the course starts

Other course materials/literature

To be announced


Registration for every course and exam in USIS is mandatory. For courses, registration is possible from four weeks up to three days before the start of the course.
For exams, registration is possible from four weeks up to ten days before the date of the examination.


Sergei Boeke