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When universities and NRENs work together for cybersecurity awareness

Cybersecurity needs to be taken into consideration by anyone who uses an internet-connected device. The risks are many and the threats are constantly evolving, so it is critical to understand them and how to counter them effectively.

However, basic notions of cybersecurity are often taken for granted and the human factor continues to be one of the main causes of security breaches in organisations. For this reason, the University of Ferrara (Italy) decided to have a proactive approach and created a basic online security course designed for the university’s personnel and students. The idea was to provide them with the necessary skills to navigate and work online safely.

The initiative proved to be stimulating and successful, thus the university shared the course with the Italian NREN, GARR, to make it available publicly through their e-learning platform Learning GARR.

“Safely surfing the internet” is the title of the course that comprises eight modules of 30 minutes each on a variety of cybersecurity topics: from basic security concepts to social engineering, how to make backup copies, password management and how to use cloud applications while safeguarding the right to privacy.

The course, which fills a training gap on the subject, especially in Italian language, is designed to be accessible to everyone, even individuals lacking advanced digital skills. All those taking part will be issued with a certificate after an evaluation test at the end of the course.

The training material was prepared by Professor Massimo Carnevali from the University of Ferrara and the university’s Training Department.

“The underlying idea” Carnevali comments “was to give IT security the same attention that is normally given to safety courses in the workplace. Most cybersecurity problems arise from human behaviour: carelessness, errors or underestimation of risks. For this reason, it is essential to increase security awareness and remind individuals that security is not the sole concern of IT professionals, but it applies to anyone using devices, whether they be computers or smartphones”.

“GARR prioritises security as of utmost importance for both individuals and organisations connected to our network”, GARR director Claudia Battista adds, “this is why we are committed to increase cybersecurity awareness on various fronts. Adequate training is certainly the first step and for this reason we enthusiastically participated in the initiative to make the course accessible to our wider community through our Learning GARR training portal and e-learning platform based on the open source environment Moodle”.

Elis Bertazzon, GARRAbout Elis

Elis Bertazzon has been a member of GARR‘s communication and external relations office since 2016, where, in addition to supporting event management activities, organising communication campaigns, and looking after user relations, she participates in writing European and national projects.


Also this year GÉANT joins the European Cyber Security Month, with the campaign ‘Become A Cyber Hero‘. Read articles from cyber security experts within our community and download resources from our awareness package on

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