Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter introduces students to cybersecurity and provides conceptual and methodological foundations for students’ further cybersecurity research. The chapter begins with an initial ‘Explore’ section that introduces the Colonial Pipeline incident in the United States in 2021. This illustrates key issues that arise when thinking about the character of cybersecurity threats and responses. The remainder of the chapter is split into four ‘Understand’ sections. ‘Why
Is Cybersecurity Political?’ explores why and how an ostensibly technical security problem involving computers and data can be understood in political terms. It looks at cyber threats to various entities and how cybersecurity intends to secure those objects, a contested process that leads to diverse interpretations of the purpose of cybersecurity. ‘National and International Cybersecurity’ looks at state and international approaches to cybersecurity issues through the lenses of protection, exploitation and diplomacy. It proposes that cybersecurity is not just a set of defensive practices and must be understood as a vehicle for the pursuit of national and collective security interests, which is why cyber competition between states is an emerging issue of geopolitical concern. ‘Cybersecurity Beyond the State’ investigates the role of the private sector in cybersecurity and the struggle to align public and private interests. This section points towards a wider ‘political economy’ of cybersecurity that is presently not well represented in the cybersecurity literature. ‘Cybersecurity in Practice’ looks at the ‘everyday’
of cybersecurity and proposes theoretical and methodological innovations that students can use to explore how cybersecurity is undertaken in the world. This helps to restore focus to the human elements of cybersecurity which are often lost in state-centric narratives of cybersecurity. The chapter then returns to the example of Colonial Pipeline (‘Respond’), before presenting a Problem Mapping Exercise and a summary of the main points of the chapter. It concludes with supplementary material and resources for further study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecurity Studies: An Applied Introduction
EditorsNorma Rossi, Malte Riemann
Place of PublicationThousand Oaks, CA
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781529774610
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Jan 2024


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