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Actors and Behaviour in Cyberspace


Admission requirements

Admission only after intake, see
Elective in master’s programme Cyber Security


‘Actors and behaviour in cyberspace’ provides insights from behavioural analysis literature focusing on how individuals, corporations, States and algorithms are in action in cyberspace.

The course starts by introducing the students to the rational choice theory in order to use self-interest focused behaviour as a benchmark for rational choices. The students are then introduced to the information asymmetry concept. Actors are usually under the impression that they make informed choices, however this might not be always the case especially in complex domains like cyberspace. For example, when it comes to giving consent to be subject to automated-decision making, the individual is much less informed about the consequences of the relevant consent. When it comes to how corporations act in cyberspace, it is important to identify corporations as profit maximizing entities. This would mean a corporation’s rational choice regarding its behaviour in cyberspace would be influenced by their competitor’s behaviour. To better understand how corporation’s influence each other’s behaviour, the students will be introduced to game theory concepts including simultaneous and sequential games, as well as coordination games. The course will continue by focusing on State behaviour in cyberspace. We will analyse how coordination games can also exist between States and how these games translate into regulating cybersecurity. We will also touch upon how open government strategies could also affect State behaviour. We will use examples from how big data analytics might be abused through State action. In the last course, we will focus on how artificial intelligence and machine learning based algorithms influence the behaviour of individuals, corporations and States.

Course objectives

Participants will have:

  • basic knowledge and understanding of the root causes of information asymmetry and how it affects behaviour of actors in cyberspace

  • basic knowledge and understanding of the contributions made by the behavioural sciences (with a special focus on behavioural economics and game theory) in analysing and evaluating the role of behaviour and agency in cyberspace

  • basic knowledge and understanding of the human behaviour, corporation behaviour, State behaviour and the algorithm behaviour in cyberspace

  • insight in perceptions of rational choice theory, choice architecture, coordination games, economic incentives and automated-decision making


4 days from 9.30 until 17.00
Friday June 12, 2020
Friday June 19, 2020
Friday June 26, 2020
Friday July 3, 2020

Friday July 10, 2020 exam

Mode of instruction

Lectures, seminars, exercises, class discussion
Lecturers: dr. Elif Kiesow Cortez

Assessment method

The grade of this assignment is composed of four elements:

a. problem identification using one of the theories in the course (10%)
b. case analysis or short paper focusing on the selected problem (50%)
c. presentation 1 (10%)
d. presentation 2 (30%)

Only assessments with the weight of 30% and lower are compensable. This means that one does not have to pass an assessment if it weighs 30% or less in order to pass the course, if the average of all assessments combined is at least a 5.5. In addition, assignments weighing up to and including 30% are not re-sitable, meaning that if one failed an assessment of 30% or less one is not allowed to redo it and that assessment must be compensated by the other assessment(s). The resit will take the same form.

Reading list

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


No registration is required for lectures and exams.


Chantal de Groot, programme manager