Cyber Threats Masterclass


Technological infrastructures and digital communication are playing a crucial role in our daily life. States and citizens are increasingly reliant on advantages stemming from developments in information technology. However, the international community is exposed to new forms of crimes pertaining to the cyber space.

Cyber threats (e.g. cyber warfare, terrorism and espionage) as well as risks of massive digital misinformation and national security measures to counter cyber crime are affecting countries and citizens.

Throughout the two-day course, journalists and public relations professionals will deepen their understanding of current cyber threats, measures to counter cyber crime, internet governance and privacy issues. Participants will be also engaged in a series of brainstorming sessions, practical exercises with high-level cyber security experts, practitioners from international organizations and experienced journalists.

Upon completion of the course, participants will have developed their ability to identify, interpret and communicate cyber threats, becoming skilled in framing ethical debates on national security interests to counter cyber crime and civil liberties. The masterclass will also represent an opportunity to establish a network of contacts with experts in the field of cyber crime prevention, cyber security and international journalists.


Introduction: The Digital Society

  • Evolution of the digital society and modern vulnerabilities (dependence on digital infrastructures: data storage facilities, digital security systems etc.)

Cyber Threats:

  • Warfare and cyber terrorism
  1. Case study: Cyber Threats to national critical infrastructure
  • Terrorist use of the Internet (i.e. propaganda, recruitment, financing)
  • Cyber espionage (i.e. industrial and governmental cyber espionage)
  • Online crimes against property and persons, (i.e. organized digital crime-groups involved in e-fraud, counterfeiting, on-line child pornography, trafficking in persons / organs, copyright & trademark offences, crimes in the virtual world etc.)
  • UNICRI Hackers Profiling Project
    1. Case study: Hacktivism
    2. Case study: Current trends (i.e. the dark web, underground economy)

Countering Cyber Crime:

  • History of responses to transnational cyber threats
  • Internet governance and international cooperation
  • Using big data analytics for reinforcing security
  • Prevention of future threats and public-private partnerships

Benefits and Disadvantages of Digital Communication:

  • Digital wildfires in a hyper-connected world (i.e. risk of massive digital misinformation and advantages in creating global awareness)
  • Analysing civil liberties vs national security interests to counter cyber threats (privacy, censorship, legislations, public order and national security)
    1. Case study: Freedom of expression vs. national security issues (the debate around the Assange and Snowden cases)

Media Experts Role and Ethics

  • Recognizing and communicating cyber-threats/facts
  • Freedom of the press and cyber security
  • Verifying sources reliability
  • Securing journalists, protecting sources and media infrastructures
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