Academic Year 2023/2024

Course contents

This is one of the few classes dedicated to cybersecurity in the social sciences, hence it is quite experimental. The class will provide some theoretical as well as practical bases to understand what cybersecurity, cyberwarfare and cybercrime are. Students successfully completing the class will also be able to recognise and debunk most myths and lies that abound in this field. Given the topic, students are expected to have at least some familiarity with computer networks. Students who do not satisfy this condition are expected to individually catch up during the course of the semester.

Class Topics (tentative; it is subject to changes)

  1. Introduction to the Class: structure of the class, references, method of evaluation (i.e. exams); the topic; what we mean by Cybersecurity (CS) (G.Giacomello + G.P. Siroli)
  2. Network Theory & Analysis (Social Network Analysis) (GG)
  3. Threat Modelling Analysis & Social Engineering (GG)
  4. Critical Infrastructures (GG)
  5. Cyberwar (theory)- cyberwarfare (application) vs.Infowar(fare) nation-state (strategic Level) (GPS)
  6. Cyberwarfare: the Actors (GPS)
  7. Asymmetric Warfare (state and non-state actors; resources) (GPS)
  8. Cyberweapons: Stuxnet and its siblings (Operational Level) (GPS)
  9. Information Warfare (IW) & Psychological Ops (GPS)
  10. Digital battlefield (Operational and Tactical levels; drones, autonomous systems; nuclear weapons vulnerabilities. (GPS)
  11. Military Applications 1: Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) (GG)
  12. Military Applications 2: Electronic Warfare and Cyberspace
  13. NSA leaks & CIA leaks (GPS); Topics for the final paper due
  14. Surveillance (PRISM, TOR, GCHQ, Cambridge Analytica) (GPS)
  15. Myths and Reality of Cybercrime Today (GG)
  16. Myths and Reality of Cyberterrorism Today  (GG)
  17. Privacy & Data Protection (GG)
  18. Cyber Arms Control & Disarmament (the international framework, UN/GGE, EU; Italy) (GPS)
  19. Laboratory 1: Wireshark, Win network commands, Kali (penetration) (GG+GPS). 
  20. Conclusions and wrapping-up (GG+GPS)


  Reference Textbooks (all students, attending and non-attending)

  • D'Angelo, G. & Giacomello, G. Cybersicurezza: Che cos'è e come funziona, Bologna: IL Mulino (2023).
  • Dunn Cavelty, Myriam, and Andreas Wenger (Eds). Cyber Security Politics: Socio-Technological Transformations and Political Fragmentation. Routledge (2022).

The second volume is Open Access, thus freely available and downloadable here:

Cyber Security Politics 


Teaching methods

The seminars and lectures will be held in presence for students of the Bologna campus and on line (on MS Teams) for students of the Forlì campus.'

The course is organised according to the model of the structured seminar, comprising lectures and open discussions. More specifically, as a seminar class, students should start the readings early on in the Term and come to class ready for the in-class discussions.

As part of an active-learning class, the instructor expects all graduate students to regularly come to class and participate in the discussion.

In addition to, lectures, two laboratories, discussions and Q&A sessions, some "hands-on" work at home will be necessary (i.e. students should practice on some networking skills at home). 

Assessment methods

Final research project, paper and presentation. The paper is to be at least 6000 words --more specifically, if you write a theoretical/historical paper, 6000 words would not be enough, you would have to go for 8000; if you write a more technically-oriented paper, then 6000 words is probably about right).

You should deliver it, by email to both instructors, a week before the date you decide to take the exam (i.e. a week before the 'appello' of your choice). Final papers delivered later than the deadline will be penalised. 

No in-person discussion on the paper is required.

There is no distinction between attending and non-attending students.

Teaching tools

Software Tools: Wireshark; Kali; Tails; Tor; Buscador; CyberCIEGE and others.

Students will only be briefly introduced to these tools. If students want to develop some personal dexterity with these tools, they should plant to practice at home on their own.

Office hours

See the website of Giampiero Giacomello

See the website of Gian Piero Siroli


Quality education Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.