Today’s headlines often feature the word ‘cyber’, reporting on threats related to the virtual world: online child abuse, stolen credit cards and virtual identities, malware and viruses, botnets and denial-of-service attacks on corporate and government servers, cyberespionage, and cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure including hospitals and power supply networks.
What are the real cybersecurity challenges? What has changed during COVID-19? What is the role of diplomacy, international legal instruments, and regional and national policies in addressing these threats, and how efficient are they? How does international co-operation in cybersecurity work, and what are the roles of the various stakeholders?
This 10-week online advanced course in Cybersecurity covers technological and geopolitical risks, policy challenges, actors, and initiatives related to cybersecurity, especially those related to cybercrime, violence, child protection, the security of core infrastructure, and cyberwarfare. It also covers a broader context: the relations of cybersecurity with economic development and human rights.
This course can be taken as part of the Advanced Diploma in Internet Governance.
This course complements a shorter and lighter Cybersecurity Diplomacy course, which focuses in depth on the risks of cyber-conflict and the related international negotiations. The cybersecurity course takes a more time-consuming and academic approach.
Dr Stephanie Borg Psaila
Director Digital Policy
Dr Stephanie Borg Psaila is the Director for Digital Policy at DiploFoundation, and the Editor of the GIP Digital Watch observatory. In 2018-2019, she served as Diplo's Interim Director and Head of Geneva Internet Platform, replacing Founding Director Dr Jovan Kurbalija during his one-year position as co-Executive Director of the Secretariat of the United Nations High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
Stephanie holds a Doctorate in Law (LL.D.), a Master's in Contemporary Diplomacy, and two law-related diplomas from the University of Malta, and her special areas of interest include legal issues in digital policy, human rights, and e-diplomacy. She holds a warrant to practice as a Notary Public in Malta, and is a former journalist with The Sunday Times of Malta.
Mr Aapo Cederberg
Associate Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Mr Aapo Cederberg is currently Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). He was Senior Programme Adviser in the Emerging Security Challenges Programme at GCSP from 2013 to 2015, focussing on cybersecurity matters, especially training courses and security dialogue.
Mr Cederberg has served as a Secretary General for the Security Committee of Finland for six years. The Security Committee provides support, advice and expertise for the government in comprehensive security matters and serves as a collaborative platform for the on-going national efforts related to national crisis preparedness. The security committee also works on various initiatives and issues statements and guidelines, such as Security Strategy for the Society and Cyber Security Strategy, to facilitate work towards the common goals. These strategies are government resolutions and were created for the first time during Mr Cederberg´s time as well as the mechanisms to implement them in the whole society. The committee also organises crisis exercises for the government and other stakeholders in society.
Mr Cederberg’s earlier assignments include working as the Head of Strategic Planning and Foresight at the Ministry of Defence (2005 – 2007). During his time a first public long-term strategy for the MoD was created (Securely into the Future - Ministry of Defence Strategy 2025). Before this he has had a long career in the service of Finnish Armed Forces, where his latest assignments include holding the position of Commander at the Häme GBAD Battalion (2003 – 05) and serving as a Senior Military Adviser at the Permanent Mission of Finland to the OSCE (1999- 2003).
Dr Stefanie Frey
Managing Director at Deutor Cyber Security Solutions Switzerland GmbH
Dr Stefanie Frey, Managing Director at Deutor Cyber Security Solutions Switzerland GmbH, is specialised in developing strategies and solutions against criminal acts in the digital space for states, international organisations, and companies in close cooperation with law enforcement and other relevant bodies. She worked several years for the Swiss government as coordinator for the implementation of the National Cyber Strategy of Switzerland. She made contributions to ENISA's Cyber Security Working Group and the OECD Working Party on Security and Privacy in the Digital Economy (SPDE), and has influenced the outcome of the Digital Security Risk Recommendation. She is actively engaged in shaping the regional and global cybersecurity agenda with international and regional organisations. Dr. Frey holds a PhD from the Department of War Studies from King`s College London and a MBA from the International School of Management (ISM) in Dortmund and has several publication on cyber security, the Cold War and World War II.
Mr Ljupčo Gjorgjinski
Senior Advisor for Multilateral Affairs, MFA of North Macedonia
Ljupčo Gjorgjinski is a Senior Fellow with DiploFoundation, focusing his research on the security and diplomatic aspects of frontier science and technology. The research draws on his practical experience at the highest diplomatic levels on artificial intelligence (AI), biotech, and cyber issues, rooted in the theoretical foundations of International Relations Theory, international economics, and diplomatic history.
Ljupčo chaired the 2019 UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), formed under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). The GGE, under his leadership, adopted a Report that is still the most advanced international normative document to focus on AI, with important context to the document given in his Chair’s Summary.
In 2018, Ljupčo chaired the Meeting of States Parties (MSP) to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). He resolved a complex financial situation that threatened not only to cancel that year’s meeting, but also the long-term financial viability of the Convention. He wrote, as Chair, an Information Paper on the financial predictability and sustainability of the BTWC and, based on that paper, proposed a set of measures, most of which were adopted by the MSP. These measures are broadly considered as decisive in setting this important convention on stable, long-term financial footing.
As a Macedonian diplomat, he was the acting Head of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of North Macedonia to the UN Office and other International Organisations in Geneva (2016–2019); Assistant Director of the Cabinet of the Foreign Minister responsible for strategic communication; and, Assistant Head of the United Nations and Human Rights Sector in the Directorate for Multilateral Relations and Security Cooperation.
Before entering the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he worked for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) where he managed the joint Macedonian Government–UNDP Policy Support Unit and produced a number of influential reports, development plans, and studies.
He was Executive Director of the Foundation of the first Macedonian president, Kiro Gligorov, and advised the second president, Boris Trajkovski, on information society policy, including the preparation of all Macedonian positions for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in 2003.
Ljupčo has degrees from the University of Toronto (Hon. BA.), the University of Malta (MA), and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (GMAP).
Mr Tracy Hackshaw
ICT and Digital Economy Strategist; Director, Trinidad and Tobago Multistakeholder Advisory Group
Mr Tracy Hackshaw is an ICT and Digital Economy Strategist possessing close to twenty-five (25) years' experience spanning work in the public and private sectors both locally and internationally, including representing Trinidad & Tobago in various international forums. Included in his portfolio are engagements on the Executive Management Committee of the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative, a two-year term as Vice Chair of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, Small Island Developing States Dynamic Coalition co-ordination at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, Academic Teaching and Research work at the DiploFoundation/University of Malta and at The University of the West Indies, as well as professional leadership roles in the Ministries of Science & Technology, Public Administration and Planning & Development, iGovTT, ttconnect, and Star.tt among several other entities and organisations.
He has served as a Director of the Trinidad & Tobago Multistakeholder Advisory Group, which convened the inaugural Trinidad & Tobago IGF in January 2017. Hackshaw is the founding Vice Chair of the Internet Society Trinidad & Tobago Chapter and was elected its Chair for the 2017-19 term. More about Hackshaw.
Ms Marília Maciel
Digital Policy Senior Researcher
Brazilian-born Ms Marília Maciel is currently based in Strasbourg, France. She is involved in several Internet- governance-related projects, notably on the fields of digital economy, e-commerce, and cybersecurity. She also curates the topics of e-commerce, Access and Digital Divide for the GIP Digital Watch Observatory and represents Diplo at various meetings.
Prior to joining Diplo, Ms Marília Maciel was a researcher and coordinator of the Center for Technology and Society of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (CTS/FGV) in Rio de Janeiro. She served as a councillor at ICANN´s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) representing the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG). Marília is a former member of the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (2011–2012), created under the auspices of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UN CSTD). She was also a member of the Multistakeholder Executive Committee of NETmundial and represented CTS/FGV in meetings of the Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). She served in the Consultative Chamber on Internet Security and Rights of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br).
Marília is a PhD candidate at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne, on Information and Communication Sciences. She holds an MA in Latin American Integration from the Federal University of Santa Maria (2008) and a law degree from the Federal University of Pernambuco (2005), where she was awarded a research grant from the State of Pernambuco Research Foundation (FACEPE) to investigate issues related to taxation and electronic commerce.
Ms Virginia Paque
Internet Governance and E-diplomacy Programmes
Born (and currently residing) in the United States, Ms Virginia (Ginger) Paque lived in Venezuela for more than 35 years. An educator and administrator by profession, she has 25 years’ experience in business and manufacturing systems consulting. As a board member of the United Nations Association of Venezuela, her work as the Venezuelan member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations Task Force on WSIS marked her entry to the world of Internet governance (IG) during the Geneva PrepComs. Active in Civil Society discussions on IG, Ginger served as IG Caucus co-coordinator for two years. She was a member of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) from 2015 to 2017, with a specific focus on moving online 'observation' to online 'participation' for greater inclusion. Having completed a Master in Contemporary Diplomacy with a thesis focusing on the importance of IG as a new diplomatic priority, Ginger currently lectures on IG for Diplo and curates human rights topics for the GIP Digital Watch observatory. Accessibility to support inclusion is a high priority, particularly through support for persons with disabilities and multilingual approaches.
Mr Vladimir Radunović
Cybersecurity and E-diplomacy Programmes Director
Serbian-born Mr Vladimir (Vlada) Radunović is a lecturer in cybersecurity policy, Internet governance, and e-diplomacy on postgraduate and professional courses. He also serves as an expert with the Geneva Internet Platform. He served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) from 2016 to 2020, and a member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) from 2012 to 2014. Vlada has been a lecturer, speaker, and resource person on a number of educational and training programmes and events worldwide, including within the WSIS and IGF processes. His professional and research focus is on Internet governance, broadband policy and net neutrality, cybersecurity and cyber-diplomacy, e-diplomacy, and capacity development. He holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Belgrade and a Master’s in Contemporary Diplomacy from the University of Malta. He is currently working on his PhD in cybersecurity. Vlada is currently member of the Board of Directors of Diplo US.
Dr Tatiana Tropina
Assistant Professor in cybersecurity governance, Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University
Dr. Tatiana Tropina is Assistant Professor in cybersecurity governance at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University and an Associate Fellow of The Hague Program for Cyber Norms. Previously, she worked as a senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, Germany. She has more than 15 years of experience in academic research, policy and advocacy in the field of cybercrime, cybersecurity, ICT regulation and Internet governance, including several years of volunteer involvement in policy-making and Internet governance processes at ICANN, Freedom Online Coalition Advisory Network, and European Dialogue on Internet Governance.
The projects she worked on at the international level include a cybercrime study for the Global Symposium of Regulators (ITU, 2010), UNODC Comprehensive Cybercrime Study (2012-2013), research on the illicit financial flows and digital technologies for the World Bank’s World Development Report 2016, project with German Federal Criminal Police Office on improving mutual legal assistance on interception of electronic communications in the EU (2015-2018), and others.
Tatiana holds a doctoral degree in criminal law and criminology from the Far Eastern Federal University (Russia) and a Master’s degree from the University of Strathclyde, UK.
DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)
Anutruf, Ground Floor, Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
+356 21 333 323;
- Course details
- Who should apply
- Fees and scholarships
- How to apply
If you are interested in the interplay between international relations and digital technology in the context of security, this online course is for you. It is suited for both decision makers and policy shapers from various sectors. Whether you are familiar with tech, but require a broader understanding of governance and diplomacy, or vice versa, this course enables participants to grasp the complexity of the field of cybersecurity, while simultaneously expanding their multidisciplinary knowledge.
This highly interactive course is based on in-depth discussions led by renown and experienced practitioners in the field.
The unique multidisciplinary approach (covering technology, crime and legal aspects, international relations, national policy frameworks, and social and economic aspects) offers a holistic mapping of the burning issues, and a broader view of the impacts of cybersecurity, including current policy and governance responses.
The knowledge, experiences, and contacts gained in this course are applicable in a wide range of activities, such as: deliberations of international and regional organisations, governments’ policy decisions, strategic planning and governance relations of companies, research and education by academia, the advocacy work of civil society organisations, and raising public awareness via media.
By the end of the course, participants should be able to:
- Identify the defining features of cybersecurity and the factors which shape international issues
- Identify principal technological and social threats to cybersecurity; describe and analyse key cybersecurity issues for users, companies, institutions, and states
- Understand and analyse online risks for children and ways to mitigate them
- Identify challenges related to online terrorism and violent extremism, as well as the emerging global intiatives to combat them
- Explain the emerging cybercrime environment and its impacts, and the challenges of investigation, and national and international co-operation
- Understand the threats to critical infrastructure and core Internet resources
- Explain risks from cyber conflict, the challenges of applying international law to cyberspace, and ongoing diplomatic and political deliberations
- Understand and assess the challenges involved in the social aspects of cybersecurity, in particular the interplay between commercial and developmental aspects, and online freedoms and privacy
- Explain and analyse national and international policy frameworks and instruments.
Excerpt from course materials
‘One side-effect of the rapid integration of the Internet in almost all aspects of human activity is the increased vulnerability of modern society. The Internet is part of the global critical infrastructure. Other core services of modern society, such as electric grids, transport systems, and health services are increasingly dependent on the Internet. As attacks on these systems may cause severe disruption and have huge financial consequences, they are frequent targets.’ (Lecture text 4.3)
- 1. Introduction to security discusses the historical development of cybersecurity, and global and geostrategic challenges. The module distinguishes between the commonly narrow understanding of cybersecurity as only relating to cyber-threats and the broader notion which includes information security and security aspects of the global race for technological dominance. It also looks at the mapping of targets and the motives behind cyber-attacks such as hactivism, crime, espionage, terrorism, and warfare. Optionally, the module allows participants to better understand the technology behind the Internet, and the basics of multilateral diplomacy.
- 2. Cybersecurity risks focuses on the vulnerabilities of cyberspace as well as emerging threat actors, procedures, and tools. The module particularly reviews key vulnerabilities and common cybersecurity threats to individuals and institutions such as malware, botnets, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), phishing, e-scams, and identity theft.
- 3. Cybercrime defines and classifies cybercrime and analyses its economic and social impact, taking into account emerging technological and societal trends. The module also focuses on combating cybercrime, including existing legal frameworks and negotiations at the global and regional levels (such as the Council of Europe ‘Budapest Convention’, and the UN open-ended intergovernmental expert committee), international co-operation frameworks and various law enforcement approaches, computer investigation, and digital forensics.
- 4. Violence and child protection provides a look at the ways terrorists abuse cyberspace, and the challenges of violent extremism and possible counteracts (such as the ‘Christchurch Call”). It covers the topic of child safety, including cyber-bullying, abuse, and sexual exploitation, and discusses ways to address these challenges through policy, education, and technology.
- 5. Critical infrastructure and resources looks at the security and protection of critical infrastructure, including the Internet infrastructure, water supply facilities, transport, industrial facilities, and power plants. It concludes with the expected challenges of future networks: the Internet of things (IoT) and ‘smart networks’. It further explains how the critical components of the Internet work, and discusses the political dimension of global security – the control over the domain name system (DNS) through IANA functions – and technical DNS vulnerabilities.
- 6. Cyber conflicts and international security looks at cyber conflicts, including the main risks for conducting warfare by cyber means. It then reviews challenges of the applicability of international law to cyberspace, as well as ongoing diplomatic efforts to define norms and confidence-building measures related to state behaviour in cyberspace (in particular the UN group of governmental experts and the open-ended working group, but also the efforts of regional organisations like OSCE, OAS and ARF, and multistakeholder processes like the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace).
- 7. Cybersecurity policy frameworks analyses national cybersecurity mechanisms, starting with examples of national cybersecurity strategies, followed by a close look at the importance, role, and structure of national computer emergency response teams (CERTs) and computer security incident response teams (CSIRTs). The module also looks at the importance of public-private partnerships, developing national competences and awareness, and international co-operation through multilateral and multistakeholder forums.
- 8. Broader context of cybersecurity correlates cybersecurity and other social and political issues related to digital policies and Internet governance. The module looks at the connection between privacy and security, with particular reflection on social media challenges, issues of openness and online freedoms, and objectionable and harmful content. It then briefly covers ethics and gender issues, and concludes with discussing economic aspects and building trust in e-commerce.
Diplo seeks applications from the following, from both developed and developing countries:
- Officials in government ministries, departments, judicial or regulatory institutions dealing with security and/or ICT-related policy issues (e.g. security and defence, foreign affairs, justice, telecommunications);
- Experts and officials in intergovernmental, international and regional organisations in charge of security cooperation, justice and home affairs, defence or Internet and ICT policy;
- Academics, researchers and postgraduate students in the field of security and/or Internet;
- Professionals from the corporate sector in charge of Internet and security policies;
- Journalists and staff of non-governmental organisations, covering issues of Internet rights and security.
This course may also be of interest to:
- Practising diplomats, civil servants, and others working in international relations who want to refresh or expand their knowledge on the subject, under the guidance of experienced practitioners and academics.
- Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to study topics not offered through their university programmes or diplomatic academies and to gain deeper insight through interaction with practising diplomats.
This course is conducted online over a period of ten weeks, including one week of classroom orientation, eight weeks of dynamic class content and activities, and one week for the final assignment. Reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. Each week, participants read the provided lecture texts, adding comments, references, and questions in the form of hypertext entries. The tutor and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the lecture text. During the week, participants complete additional online activities (e.g. further discussion via blogs or forums or quizzes). At the end of the week, participants and tutors meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic.
Courses are based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction. This course requires a minimum of 7-8 hours of study time per week.
Participants are invited to join Diplo’s global Internet governance online community of over 1,400 members, and to attend monthly webinars and other IG-related events and activities.
The course materials, the e-learning platform, and the working language of the course is English. Applicants should consider whether their reading and writing skills in English are sufficient to follow postgraduate level materials and discussion.
Applicants for the certificate course must have:
- Interest in cybersecurity policy, Internet governance, international peace and stability, and multistakeholder approaches in international affairs. A certificate in the Introduction to Internet Governance course is an advantage;
- Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments);
- Regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable);
- A minimum of 7-8 hours commitment per week, and the readiness to participate in class online sessions (once a week at specified times).
In addition to the above, applicants for the accredited course must also meet University of Malta prerequisites:
- Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours;
- English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements: Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) – 95 (with a writing score of at least 24); IELTS: 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each element); Cambridge: Advanced Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results.
Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course:
- €850 (University of Malta Accredited Course)
- €690 (Diplo Certificate Course)
Applicants must pay full fees upon official acceptance into the course. The fee includes:
- Tuition fee
- Access to all course materials online, via Diplo’s online classroom
- Personal interaction via the online classroom with course lecturers, staff and other participants
- Online technical support
- University of Malta application fee (for University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
- Access, via the Internet, to the University of Malta e-journal collection (University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
- For Diplo Certificate Courses, postgraduate level e-certificate issued by DiploFoundation on successful completion of course requirements (interaction and participation, all assignments) which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link
Alumni members are eligible for a 15% discount on course fees.
Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from small and developing countries, through support from the Government of Malta.
A limited number of partial scholarships are available for civil society applicants working in the field of digital policy, through support from the Ford Foundation.
To apply for a scholarship please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:
- Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
- Reasons for your interest in the course.
- Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?
As Diplo's ability to offer scholarship support is limited, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship funding directly from local or international institutions.
A number of routes for application are available:
- Apply for this course as a Diplo Certificate Course
- Apply for this course as a University of Malta Accredited Course
- Take this course as part of the Master/PGD in Contemporary Diplomacy
Apply for a Diplo Certificate Course
Applicants for certificate courses should apply online.
If you are applying for financial assistance, please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:
- Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
- Reasons for your interest in the course.
- Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?
Please note that financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries. Late applications will be considered if there are spaces available in the course.
Apply for a University of Malta Accredited Course
Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.
- University of Malta application form filled out in full (download form). You do not need to complete Section F.
- Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts.
- English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by translator.
- English language proficiency certificate:
* TOEFL iBT Certificate. Home-based test. More info: https://www.ets.org/s/cv/toefl/at-home/ (minimum requirements: 90 overall with a writing score of at least 24, obtained within the last two years).
* Academic IELTS Certificate (minimum requirements: 6.0 overall and 6.0 in the reading and writing components). The University of Malta will accept Academic IELTS certificates obtained in the last five years.
* Cambridge English Proficiency Advanced Certificate (minimum requirements: Grade C or better, obtained within the last two years).
Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results.
If your undergraduate study programme was taught entirely in English, this may be considered to fulfil the University of Malta’s English language requirement. You must present an official statement from the institution where you studied confirming that the language of instruction and assessment throughout the whole programme was English.
- Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport.
- If you are requesting partial financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter (300 – 400 words) with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course, i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution, and/or your country. Please note that all financial assistance is partial. We do not offer full scholarships. Financial assistance is only available to applicants from developing countries.
- Application fee or proof of payment (€100 – non-refundable – see methods of payment).
Please send the complete application package by e-mail to email@example.com or by post to:
Anutruf, Ground Floor
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.
A relevant and applicable look at cybersecurity, taking into account the different aspects of the subject matter. The intuitive e-learning environment allows for informative discussion and interaction between participants and instructors alike. Also, the global composition of both the participants and instructors allows one to gain a useful insight into diverse experiences and views of cybersecurity.