Investigative Journalism on Cyber Operations
22 September, 4pm-5.15pm CET
– Kim Zetter, Independent
– Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, VICE
– Hakan Tanriverdi, BR/ARD  

– Max Smeets, ETH Zurich Center for Security Studies      
– Jamie Collier, FireEye  

Investigative journalism has been crucial in informing the public and policymakers about key activities in the field of cyber conflict and competition. Yet, we rarely talk about the challenges associated with researching and reporting on cyber activities for journalists. This session asks renowned journalists about their experiences of collecting and verifying data as well as the ethics of reporting on cyber operations and decision-making. The panel also addresses whether there is sufficient independence, fairness and professionalism among news agencies reporting on cyber operations. Finally, this session offers a few words of advice for junior journalists in the field.


Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai is a senior staff writer at VICE Motherboard in Brooklyn, New York, where he covers hacking, information security, and digital rights. Prior to working at Motherboard, Lorenzo worked at Mashable and at Wired’s Danger Room. @lorenzofb

Hakan Tanriveri is covering cybersecurity and its geopolitical implications for german public broadcasting (BR/ARD). He is part of a team doing computer-assisted reporting to follow pieces of information (unwillingly) left behind by hackers.  @hatr

Kim Zetter is an award-winning investigative journalist and author who has covered cybersecurity and national security for more than a decade, initially for WIRED, where she wrote for thirteen years, and more recently for the New York Times Magazine, Politico, Washington Post, Motherboard/Vice, The Intercept and Yahoo News. She has been repeatedly voted one of the top ten security journalists in the country by security professionals and her journalism peers. Zetter is also an expert on cyber warfare and wrote an acclaimed book on the topic – Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon – about a sophisticated virus/worm developed by the U.S. and Israel to covertly sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. In addition to writing for other publications, she launched a Substack newsletter this year called Zero Day, which features original stories on spies, security and surveillance topics. @KimZetter


Max Smeets is a senior researcher at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich. He is also an Affiliate at Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation and Research Associate at the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs, University of Oxford. Max was previously a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at Stanford University CISAC and a College Lecturer at Keble College, University of Oxford. He has also held research and fellowship positions at New America, Columbia University SIPA, Sciences Po CERI, and NATO CCD COE. Before his academic career, Max worked in finance in London and Amsterdam. @Maxwsmeets

Jamie Collier is a Cyber Threat Intelligence Consultant at Mandiant. He was previously the Cyber Threat Intelligence Team Lead at Digital Shadows and has completed a PhD in Cyber Security at the University of Oxford where he remains active as a research affiliate with the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs. Jamie was previously based at MIT as a Cyber Security Fulbright Scholar and has experience working with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Oxford Analytica, and PwC India.