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Introduction to cyberspace


Admission requirements

Admission only after intake, see website of the Cyber Security Academy.


Aiming to avoid overlap with other courses (elective as well as mandatory courses) that are taught later in the curriculum, the content of this course is limited to the introductory stage and includes:

  • exploring what cyberspace entails: first explorations in conceptualising cyberspace, its working, cyber risks, and cyber security challenges

  • introduction to fundamental concepts that are central to understanding and reasoning about cyberspace, cyber security and related risks (with assignments)

  • learning by doing: practical demonstrations and exercises related to cyber-attack and defense

  • lectures on the basic working and governance of ICT systems (including the Internet)

  • lectures and exercises on (cyber) risk management (assessment & mitigation) approaches

  • lectures on “the human factor” of cyber security ((motives of the) people in the role of attacker, defender and that of end-user), including: -the rule of law -cyber economics -cyber terrorism

  • organizing cyber security in organisations

  • critical infrastructures and critical information infrastructures and their interdependencies

  • summary/outcomes:

    • (common) conceptualisations of cyberspace, cyber risks, cyber security challenges
    • use a few basic intelligence, attack and defense tools in a lab environment
    • apply a chosen cyber risk assessment or mitigation approach onto a new case study

Course objectives

When finalizing this course successfully, participants will have:

  • basic knowledge & understanding of what cyberspace entails (the world of "cyber activities"), the various sub-domains, the interwoven nature of virtual and real worlds (including cyber-physical systems), and related cyber security challenges

  • basic knowledge & understanding of how Internet works, the use and abuse of the Internet and the dependency on IT services in critical infrastructures, how society in all kinds of sub-domains has become (highly) dependent on IT services

  • basic knowledge of the governance of the Internet and involved stakeholders
    When finalizing this course successfully, participants will be able to:

  • identify various cyber risks (intentional and unintentional) and what impact they result into (e.g. legal, economical and, political impact)

  • (qualitatively) reason about the relations cyber threats-incidents-risks and possible counter measures to reduce existing cyber risks to accepted levels (bowtie thinking)

  • use a few basic intelligence, attack and defense tools in a lab environment (including the working of these tools and the possible consequences of their application)

  • apply a chosen cyber risk assessment or mitigation approach onto a new case study


7 days from 9.30 until 17.00 in February and March 2019.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, seminars, exercises, class discussion

Lecturers: Prof.dr. Jan van den Berg, Dr. Els De Busser, Prof. Dr. Bibi van den Berg, Prof.dr. Dennis Broeders, Prof.dr. Michel van Eeten, Prof.dr. Edwin Bakker, and others

Course Load

5 EC

Assessment method

Assignments (60%), written exam (40%)

No compensation is possible for assignments of 30% or more. Only assessments with a weight under 30% are compensable. This means that one does not have to pass an assessment if it weighs less than 30% in order to pass the course, if the average of all assessments combined is at least a 5.5. In addition, assignments with less than 30% are not re-sitable, meaning that if one failed an assessment of less than 30%, one is not allowed to redo it.


Yes, for posting announcements, slides of lectures, relevant literature and assignments.

Reading list

Compulsory literature and literature for further consultation will be announced via Blackboard.


No registration is required for lectures and exams.


Dr. Els de Busser

Drs. Mireille Snels, programme manager


For more information see website of the Cyber Security Academy.